Accounting for Change in Diverse Societies

The Spanish Transition Forty Years Later:
Democracy, Devolution and Pluralism

Publication Date: May 2017

Francisco Colom Gonzalez

Francisco Colom Gonzalez is a Research Professor at the Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). His work has mainly dealt with the normative relations between culture, political identity and social change. His last project (2009-2011) was Intercultural Justice: Norms, Subjects and Cultures in Diverse Societies. He is presently directing the project Philosophy and the Political Space. A topological Approach to Politics and Democracy and he is a member of the Research Networking Program RECODE (Responding to Complex Diversity in Europe and Canada), which is financed by the European Science Foundation.

With the death of Franco in 1975, Spain faced multiple challenges, including how best to manage the transition from fascist dictatorship to democracy while also addressing the rise of nationalist movements in Catalonia and the Basque Country seeking autonomy. That the leaders of the democratic transition would build territorial pluralism into their conception of democratization was by no means inevitable. Why and how did democratization and pluralism intersect during the Spanish democratic transition? Forty years on, what does the Spanish experience tell us about the relationship between democracy and devolution and the changing place of pluralism within the self-identity of the country? Which sources of exclusion stubbornly endure?

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