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From Hegemony to Statehood: The State-Society Complex in Slovene and Catalan Sovereignty Processes

The paper analyses social conditions and political operations within two sovereignty processes in Europe’s recent history: the Slovene case, successfully completed between 1991 and 1992, and the case of Catalonia, carried out between 2012 and 2017, when Spanish institutions administratively intervened in its autonomy. Departing from a critical neo-Gramscian approach of international relations, the study portrays statehood as the result of the reproduction of a social formation that is successfully projected onto political institutions; namely, as the product of a hegemony. In contrast to institutionalist perspectives, which limit social reality in order to adapt fragmented narratives, critical approaches can be used to tackle the existing incommensurability between apparently similar contemporary political developments and to contextualise statehood processes as part of broader political and social changes that foster them and of the international context that constrains them. While the Catalan ruling elites sought to follow the Slovene path to independence, results could not have been more different. In terms of social structure, the Slovene process took place while underpinning a previously existing class coalition, whereas the Catalan process was developed in the middle of a breakdown in the social formation. Politically, the Slovene process was articulated as the aggregation, ideological transformation, and homogenisation of ruling groups, while the Catalan experience was a consequence of competition between nationalist actors. The hegemony achieved in Slovenia gives an account of the capacity to reproduce a social formation and to project it onto the state dimension, thus limiting the questioning of state coercion.


Article inside journal

Issue No. 276 - Self-determination
Časopis za kritiko znanosti
2019 , volume volume 47 , issue issue 276
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