The Transformation of National Identity in the Basque Country of France, 1789-2006 (Paperback)
by Igor Ahedo Gurrutxaga.
(Occasional Papers Series, no. 15).
The emergence of modern France is typically cited as the prime example of a strong model of state construction. At the same time, the Basque Country is renowned for its own distinct identity. This work demonstrates how feelings of national identity have changed over the last two hundred years in Iparralde, or the Basque Country of France. It charts how the construction of the French state involved imprinting a French national identity on that part of the Basque Country within its borders. This was a lengthy process, beginning with the French Revolution and culminating in France’s involvement in twentieth-century world and colonial wars, and involved creating and disseminating a French national mythology while at the same time denying any strong feelings of Basque particularity. The author then shows how a distinct sense of Basque national identity resurfaced in the 1960s with the first overtly politicized Basque nationalist movement in Iparralde and how, by the turn of the millennium, different political forces were competing to articulate diverse notions of national attachment, with territory forming a central feature of Basque nationalist claims to people’s primary identity.
399 pp., index; paper (ISBN 978-1-877802-79-9) $29.95.