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Multinational democracy and the consequences of compounded representation: The case of Spain


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  • Alonso, Sonia
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    Democracy is feasible in multinational states. Substate nationalism in Europe has grown stronger, not weaker, during the last decades. And this has taken place because of democracy and not in spite of it. The cohabitation of democracy and nationalism is guaranteed by the establishment of compounded representation. The political decentralization of the state produces a multiplication of the sources of representation. Territorial representation becomes as important as individual representation, and substate nationalists lose incentives to defend a type of political representation that is ethnically based in favour of one that is territorially based. As a result, membership in one nation ceases to exclude membership in another and dual national identities become the rule and not the exception. I shall use the case of Spain as an illustration of this process. Spain is a paradigmatic case of how to establish a stable democracy in a multinational state with deeply entrenched nationalist conflicts. Thus, it is the best possible illustration in order to defend the viability of democracy in multinational societies under constraining conditions (new democracy, the presence of secessionist terrorism, highly mobilized minority nationalisms, etc.). In fact, Spain in 1977 lacked most of the conditions established by Dahl (1971) as essential if a country with con-siderable subcultural pluralism was to maintain its conflicts at a low enough level to sus-tain polyarchy. -- Demokratie in multinationalen Staaten ist möglich. In Europa hat der regionale Nationa-lismus in den letzten Jahrzehnten an Einfluss gewonnen und nicht verloren. Dies geschah wegen und nicht trotz der bestehenden Demokratien. Die Vereinbarkeit von Demokratie und Nationalismus wird durch die Einrichtung gemischter Formen von Repräsentation gewährleistet. Die politische Dezentralisierung des Staates führt zu einer Vervielfachung der Quellen von Repräsentation. Territoriale Repräsentation wird genauso wichtig wie individuelle Repräsentation, und regionale Nationalisten verlieren das Interesse, eine politische Repräsentation zu verfechten, die auf ethnischen Unterschieden basiert, sondern setzen auf eine territoriale politische Repräsentation. Das hat zur Folge, dass die Zugehörigkeit zu einer Nation die Zugehörigkeit zu einer anderen nicht länger ausschließt und eine doppelte nationale Identität nicht mehr die Ausnahme, sondern die Regel darstellt. Ich veranschauliche diesen Prozess am Fall Spaniens. Spanien stellt einen beispielhaften Fall dafür dar, wie eine stabile Demokratie in einem multinationalen Staat mit tief verwurzelten nationalistischen Konflikten etabliert werden kann. Spanien ist daher das beste Beispiel für die Sicherung der Überlebensfähigkeit von Demokratien in multinationalen Gesellschaften unter ungünstigen Bedingungen (neu etablierte Demokratie, das Bestehen von sezessionistischem Terrorismus, starker Nationalismus von Minoritäten etc.) dar. Tatsächlich fehlten Spanien 1977 die meisten Bedingungen, die Dahl (1971) als entscheidende Voraussetzungen dafür ansah, dass ein Land mit ausgeprägtem regionalem Pluralismus Konflikte auf einem so niedrigen Niveau halten kann, dass eine Polyarchie von Bestand sein kann.

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    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Democracy and Democratization with number SP IV 2008-202.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbdsc:spiv2008202

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    1. S. Illeris & G. Akehurst, 2001. "Introduction," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 1-4, January.
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