Afraid of what? Why Islamist terrorism and the Catalan independence question became conflated in representations of the 2017 Barcelona attacks

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Abstract

This article analyses why the issue of terrorism and the quest for independence in Catalonia, which are fundamentally different matters, became conflated in representations of and responses to the terrorist violence of 17 August 2017 in Barcelona and Cambrils. Pro-independence discourses and messages that developed in response not only to the attacks themselves, but also to the Spanish authorities’ handling of the situation, were successfully used to further the sense of group cohesion that had gradually been built over several years beforehand by pro-independence activists, and which was so crucial to attempts to increase support for independence in the run-up to the illegal referendum of 1 October 2017. This is shown through two case studies: first, the use of the phrase ‘No tinc por’ (‘I’m not afraid’) in defiance not only of Islamist terrorists, but also of Spanish politicians refusing to allow an independence referendum; and second, the role and depiction of the Mossos d’Esquadra (the Catalan police) in the aftermath of the attacks, especially the making of a hero out of Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero Álvarez.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1133
Number of pages21
JournalBulletin of Spanish Studies
Volume96
Issue number7
Early online date2 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Bulletin of Spanish Studies on 2 Sept 2019, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14753820.2019.1651007

Keywords

  • Catalan independence
  • Catalonia
  • Civil Society
  • Islamist terrorism
  • Mossos d’Esquadra
  • ‘No tinc por’

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