Regionalism in Spain: Political Union and Cultural Intersections

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Course Information
Political Science
Terms offered: 
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 



The objective of this course is for students to understand the historical process that has led to the current political, administrative and territorial configuration of Spain in different autonomous communities, as well as the consequences that derive from present autonomous organizations. The course will give a vision of Spain from regional reality, which will tackle the geographical diversity of the country, the history of the birth and development of the regionalisms and nationalisms, the cultural and socio-economic variables that define the autonomic indicators, and, finally, the current political situation in each of the autonomies as well as their relation with the central government.

Watch this short video to get an overview for this course!

Attendance policy: 

Attendance is mandatory for all IES Abroad classes, including course-related excursions. Any exams, tests, presentations, or other work missed due to student absences can only be rescheduled in cases of documented medical or family emergencies. If a student misses more than two classes, the final grade will be reduced by one-third of a letter grade (for example, A- to B+) for every additional unexcused absence..

Punctuality: Students who are late to class on a regular basis will also receive a reduction in their final grade.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a profound knowledge about the main features that define the various autonomous communities in Spain and make them different.
  • Understand the organizational system of the Spanish State and the causes for the existing conflicts between the different autonomies.
  • Critically analyze the current situation in the relations between autonomies as well as their relation with the central government.
Method of presentation: 
  • Lectures
  • Discussions on selected readings
  • Student research papers
  • Presentations of course-related excursions
  • Materials will be available for students on the IES Abroad Salamance Moodle platform.
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Midterm: 25%
  • Final: 25%
  • Class participation, homework assignments: 20%
  • Research paper and course-related excursion: 30%

Research and course-related excursion
Students will submit two 4-page papers. One paper will be about a region of Spain, focusing on its historical, geographical, legal, economic and cultural aspects. This paper will be presented in class along with another student and a Powerpoint presentation. Another paper will be a summary of some videos as well as some journalistic pieces of news and course-related excursions. Course-related excursions will include a visit to the Court of Salamanca and to the City Hall of Salamanca.





Week 1

Introduction to regional geography of Spain

Human and economic diversity

Session 1: Situation of Spain during the Second Republic

Session 2: Spanish Civil War and Franco’s Regime

Romero, Joan. España Inacabada. Universidad de Valencia, 2006. Pp. 21-39
Week 2

Autonomous state of Spain: the Transition and the Constitution

Session 1: Historical context: political transition in Spain (1975-1982)

Session 2: The Constitution of 1978

Documentary videos on the political transition in Spain

Video 1

Video 2

Week 3

The Spanish Constitution and regionalism: how the problem is tackled by law

Session 1: The Spanish Constitution- main content

Session 2: Territorial pattern in Spain- consequences of this pattern

Romero, Joan. España Inacabada. Universidad de Valencia, 2006. Pp. 65-73.

The Spanish Constitution, articles 1-9

Week 4

Seventeen autonomous communities

Session 1: Physical geography of Spain- territorial divisions in Spain (municipalities, provinces and autonomous communities)

Session 2: Geographical, social and cultural differences

Students are required to read the summary of each Autonomous Statute, paying special attention to the information given on the creation of each autonomous community

Students are also required to search the official websites of two different autonomous communities and to read about their main features

Week 5

County councils and municipalities

Session 1: Origin and development

Session 2: Current reality

Students are required to search the issues within the jurisdiction of the City Council
Week 6

Autonomous state of Spain: Is Spain a state devoured by 17 little states? Personal hypothesis by Prof. Tomás Ramón Fernandez

Session 1: “Historical” and “non-historical” communities

Session 2: Autonomous process- Different stages

Romero, Joan. España Inacabada. Universidad de Valencia, 2006. Pp. 73-85.

The Spanish Constitution, articles 143 and 151

Review of course content for midterm exam

Week 7

Problems of jurisdiction among the various Spanish territories

Session 1: Judicial resolution of conflicts: judicial institutions

Session 2: The Constitutional Court

Course-related excursion: Visit to the Court of Salamanca and summary of the visit

Romero, Joan. España Inacabada. Universidad de Valencia, 2006. Pp. 95-101.
Week 8

Autonomous state of Spain

Session 1: “Historical” and “non-historical” communities, autonomous process, different stages

Session 2: Autonomous Statutes. Convergences and divergences: the Basque statute, the Catalan statute, the Galician statute

Students will have to read one of those autonomous Statutes and comment its content, focusing on the historical origin

Romero, Joan. España Inacabada. Universidad de Valencia, 2006.

Week 9

An example of autonomous community: Castilla y León

Session 1: Regulation

Session 2: Competences

Review the website

Submit the paper

Week 10

Regionalism: application principles and solutions for the conflict

Session 1: Cooperation and coordination

Session 2: Subsidiarity

Romero, Joan. España Inacabada. Universidad de Valencia, 2006. Pp. 85-95.
Week 11

Financing and organization. What does Europe think? The role of the EU and Regionalism

Session 1: Economic problems

Session 2: Organization issues

Romero, Joan. España Inacabada. Universidad de Valencia, 2006. Pp. 101-125.
Week 12

Session 1: Current outcome of the autonomous state of Spain. Moving towards the future in the 21st century. Autonomy, federation or independence?

Session 2: Final review of course content and preparation for final exam

Sosa Wagner: El desarrollo del Estado Autonómico y sus límites, Universidad de Valladolid, 2012.
Required readings: 
  • De Riquer, Borja. "Sobre el lugar de los nacionalismos-regionalismos en la historia contemporánea española," in Historia social, No. 7 (1990), pp. 105-134.
  • García de Cortázar, Fernando, and José Manuel González Vesga. Breve Historia de España. Madrid: Alianza ed., 2002. Chapter I: "España inacabada," p. 7.
  • Romero, Joan. España Inacabada. Valencia: Universidad de Valencia, 2006.