Focusing on professional politicians, this book investigates the interrelationship between political career patterns and political institutions in two of the most widely discussed cases of regionalism: Catalonia and Scotland. It deals with two different yet closely related sets of questions. Firstly, how do professional politicians pursue their careers in the regional context? And secondly, how do they shape and reshape the political institutions in which they pursue these careers? The book is based on extensive empirical research including a comprehensive data set on the careers of Catalan and Scottish parliamentarians, systematic surveys of regional representatives as well as in-depth interviews with a wide range of politicians and experts in both regions. Exploring the effects of political professionalisation on regional democracy, it goes beyond traditional studies of regionalism and decentralization, while its focus on the regional career arena introduces a territorial dimension to the study of political careers.
This introductory chapter discusses the objective of this volume, which is to investigate how regional political institutions affect professional political careers in Scotland and Catalonia, and how, in turn, the professional self-interest of these politicians is influencing the institutionalisation of regional politics. This volume uses case-study approaches to trace the emergence of a regional political class in Catalonia and in Scotland. This chapter suggests that political professionalisation and regionalisation are delineated as two macro-processes of functional and territorial differentiation closely related to democratisation and state modernisation. It also introduces the concept of political class as a major analytical tool to break the analysis down to the micro-level.
This chapter sets out to delineate the broad historical developments and the main structural features that condition the potential emergence and scope of a regional political class in Catalonia and Scotland. It outlines the main processes and structures of the functional and territorial differentiation of Catalan and Scottish politics that are setting the stage for a regional political class. This chapter suggests that the notions of democracy, the modern state and professional politics that have informed regional mobilisation.
The making of a regional political class in itself
This chapter shows how the regionalised institutional opportunity structures in conjunction with the non-institutional effects of regionalism are shaping professional political careers in Catalonia and Scotland. It analyses the aspect of functional differentiation of regional politicians vis-à-vis regional citizens and examines the territorial differentiation of regional politicians vis-à-vis national politicians. It describes the objective structural features of the political classes in Catalonia and Scotland and identifies the dominant career patterns in both regions.
This chapter analyses the processes of institutionalisation and institutional reform in Catalonia and Scotland in order to identify and explain the capacity of regional politicians to act collectively in pursuit of their collective self-interest. It examines whether politicians have attempted to reform their institutions according to their own professional self-interest and how successful they have been in these attempts. The institutional analysis reveals that the collective action of regional politicians as a class for itself is related back to the institutional structure enabling and restricting their behaviour and to the established career patterns and to the internal structure of the political class in itself that are conditioning its territorial and functional cohesion.
Traces of a regional political class in Catalonia and Scotland
This chapter reprises the double role of the Catalan and the Scottish political classes as products and agents of regionalisation and professionalisation as depicted in the two previous chapters. It discusses the implications of political regionalisation and professionalisation for regional democracy in Catalonia and Scotland and for the modern state in Spain and the United Kingdom. This chapter also re-evaluates the utility of the concept of political class as an analytical tool.
This chapter delineates major historical changes in the role that Europe has played in domestic discourse on the territorial order of the United Kingdom. It is argued that Europe has a uniform effect neither on this discourse nor on the territorial order itself. Instead, the impact of references to Europe is contingent upon both the state of the European project and the historical domestic context at a particular time. The EU and the European integration project have opened windows of opportunity for political actors in Britain to introduce and advocate particular constitutional notions and models. The Brexit process, as the most recent such window, may very well provide an unmissable opportunity for those who want to break up an already highly fragile United Kingdom.