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158 Working Paper

Who Are the Catalans? Language, Identity and Assimilation in Contemporary Catalonia


This paper analyzes patterns of linguistic adaptation, cultural assimilation, and hidden contesta-tion in contemporary Catalonia. It makes use of public opinion data available for the general population there, compared and contrasted with the results of primary research from 355 inter-views conducted by this author with a random sample of Catalan politicians and schoolteachers. In the process, it assesses the relative merits of the “competitive assimilation” thesis, the domi-nant framework for understanding the dynamics of language politics in Catalonia. It contends that this thesis is critically flawed, both as description and as explanation.