Contested Nationalism: Basque Country and the politics of statelessness

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Nikki Hilsenhoff, a student of 101, probed theories of states and nations through the case of Basque Country, an area that borders France and Spain, and home to the Basque population. She writes:

basque-map2The Basque community crosses over the political boarder dividing France and Spain.The Basque population is approximately 3 million; 92% of which are within Spanish borders. With their distinct ethnic identity and language, members of the Basque Community have fought for independence and autonomy. While the Basques in Spain are offered more freedom, in terms of language and education than in France, neither France nor Spain has ever granted political independence.

As a stateless nation the Basque have been struggling, often violently, for sovereignty for years. This example illustrates how nations, and nationalism can exist without exclusively being associated with a state, or an independent political unit with officially recognized geographic boundaries.

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