Using Strategic Communication for Nation-Building in Contemporary Spain: The Basque Case

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This article analyzes the use of strategic communication for nation-building purposes in the case of regions, or the so-called “stateless nations” of contemporary Spain. It describes the case of the Basque Country region where successive nationalist governments over the last 30 years have used soft and hard power methods for this purpose. The soft power methods have consisted fundamentally of the use of mass media campaigns and funded institutional publicity to generate a climate of opinion that opposes Basque identity and Spanish identity. Other soft power methods have involved the promotion of Basque culture, beliefs, and values through mostly public diplomacy efforts (which also had an impact among internal audiences). Soft power approaches have resulted in a positive climate of opinion concerning an inclusive (not ethnic) Basque identity without political connotations. Nevertheless, this positive outcome has been contradicted by other hard power approaches such as the implementation of coercive linguistic laws and a level of passivity towards terrorism. Far from reinforcing each other, the intensive use of one-way communication and hard power methods seems to have created a dissonance between Basque identity and Basque nationalism.


This article was originally published in International Journal of Strategic Communication. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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International Journal of Strategic Communication


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