Emergent indigeneity in the first world: the case of Catalonia
Susan M. DiGiacomo
(Universitat Rovira i Virgili / University of Massachusetts at Amherst)
Paper short abstract:
The concept of “indigeneity” should be constructed broadly enough to encompass groups like the Catalans, who are often represented in Spain and internationally as either “ethnic” or “regional”. Indigenous “emergence” is not necessarily a new or recent phenomenon, but may be approached instead as a long and essentially open-ended historical process.
Paper long abstract:
The proposed article is a re-reading of Catalonia's struggle for recognition within the Spanish state, the European Union, and globally in terms of emergent indigeneity, a framework which, to date, has been used neither by anthropologists writing about Catalonia nor by Catalan political leaders. In our collective imaginary, "indigenous" peoples are usually tribal (or tribalized) and poor, and "emergent" identities are "new" phenomena. Catalonia is neither, and this will require us to rethink what we mean by both "indigenous" and "emergent". Catalonia's modern "emergence" has taken place in several phases since the early 19th century, an unfinished process that continues in different ways as circumstances change. My argument is that the concept of "indigeneity" should be constructed broadly enough to encompass groups like the Catalans, who are often represented in Spain and internationally as either "ethnic" or "regional"; and that indigenous "emergence" is not necessarily a new or recent phenomenon, but may be approached instead as a long and essentially open-ended historical process. The indigenous rights now being contested in Catalonia include rights of self-government and cultural sovereignty, which includes language rights and cultural property rights, many of which have to do with historical memory and its deliberate erasure during the Spanish transition to democracy following the death of General Franco in 1975. Specific issues to be examined include Catalonia's global image as refracted through the publishing industry's major yearly event: the Frankfurt Book Fair, at which Catalan culture was the guest of honor in 2007.
Indigenous, autochthonous and national identities? Strategic representations, political struggles and epistemological issues (atelier bilingue - anglais et français)