Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2020

Academic Department

Politics, Philosophy, and Legal Studies

Faculty Advisor(s)

E. Fletcher McClellan


National self-determination movements are ubiquitous social attempts of one regional or ethnic community to gain independence from a larger nation-state. These movements, although founded on democratic ideals, have the potential to disrupt the democratic process and drastically change international order. In the following paper, I first examine national self-determination movements, as a whole, from a theoretical perspective. In order to more critically analyze them, I take the case of Catalonia and its relationship with the Spanish national government, closely following the movement’s economic, cultural, and political claims to independence. Finally, I conclude my study by explaining Catalonia’s movement in the context of similar movements around the world in order to identify the most significant obstacles that said movements face, as well as what actions or conditions may be necessary in order to achieve internationally recognized sovereignty.


Senior thesis.