SUB-NATIONALISM IN FRANCE: BRITTANY AS A STUDY CASE

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Fanny Marie Augereau
ABSTRACT
Why did a national movement emerge in Brittany? Seeking to answer this question, the paper
examines the root causes of subnationalism in a now globalized world in which the progress toward
a Europe of Regions as opposed to a Europe of States has encouraged the emergence or a re-birth of
subnational movements. France represents an interesting case as, despite a process of
decentralization in 1982, it remains unwilling to accommodate demands for more linguistic and
administrative autonomy to its regions. Complementary, Brittany is an interesting analytical choice
for its particular sociological and geographical features.
The methodological framework applied in the paper is constructed around a causal research design
in which theoretical frames are distinguished; one emphasizing the importance of the language, the
other the importance of a fascist component and the last one the importance of a socialist turn.
Nonetheless, they all revolve around a Marxist approach in which the importance is given to the
representation of particular social classes. After translating these two frames into separate
hypotheses, both are tested against an empirical foundation consisting of qualitative set of data.
Twenty interviews were carried around Brittany with members of Breton nationalist political parties
in order to analyze their motivations and attitudes: the party “Adsav Breizh” established in 2000, a
far-right party based on a nationalism doctrine, the “Breton Party” established in 2002, a centrist
party that gives primacy to Brittany's political independence and eschews the traditional left-
wing/right-wing distinction and the party “Breizhistance” established in 2009, a far-left party based
on a struggle for national liberation.
The paper points to the relevance of applying theories from authors that have written about
nationalism before 1950 in a current Breton context as similar characteristics can be found.
Furthermore, this paper concludes that the two hypotheses are both partially explaining the root
causes of Breton nationalism. However, nationalist movement as a mean of gaining personal
interests presents only weak explanatory power while an important emphasis is given to explaining
nationalism as a way to protect an existing community.
Giving legitimacy to the two working hypotheses, nonetheless, should not prevent researcher to
seek further explanatory factors. Nationalism cannot be seen as homogeneous and each nationalism
is constitutional of e.g a period or geographic situation.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date29 Jul 2016
Number of pages210
ID: 237886430