Accepted Paper:

"Pure" and "mixed" in nationalist discourse: immigrants and "xarnegos" in the sixties and seventies in Catalonia  


Montserrat Clua Fainé (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

This paper tries to examine the relevance of notions of mixture in the case of Catalan nationalist discourse, through the analysis of the use of the denigrate term “xarnego” to denominate the offspring of mixed marriage between Catalan and Spanish immigrants during the internal Spanish migration of 1960-70 years.

Paper long abstract:

Nationalist discourse appears as one privileged field to examine the relevance of notions of crossing cultures and/or mixed identities. Nationalism is a kind of socio-political discourse that usually implies a concept of "pure" nation and delimited cultural pertinence that appears incompatible with the idea of hybridity or mixed national origins.

This paper tries to illustrate these arguments through the analysis of the Catalan case, characterised by the absence of a state power to regulate immigration policies, national belonging and identity legally. This case has been traditionally used as an example of "integrative nationalism". The nationalist Catalan historiography and political discourse has advocated for an integrative image of Catalonia as a "land of passage" of different peoples (from the Greeks and Romans, to the Phoenician and Franks, etc.), and argues that from that mixture the supposed essence of Catalanhood arises. I would like to contrast this public political discourse with the reality of one kind of xenophobic reaction towards the wave of immigrants that results from the internal Spanish economic migration that received Catalonia in 1960-70 years. This social reaction was shown with the use of a pejorative term, "xarnego", to denominate and denigrate the offspring of mixed marriage between Catalan and those who arrived in Catalonia from other regions of Spain. This term was also used to denominate the first arrived immigrants that were considered as "not integrated" because they didn't used the Catalan language some time after their arrival.

Panel W063
Migrations: of borders, crossings and ambivalent identities