Heritage and Separatism in Barcelona: the case of El Born Cultural Centre

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper explores the ways in which heritage sites at the crux of neighbourhood renewal and redevelopment initiatives in Barcelona have been manipulated to advance Catalan separatist agendas. We focus specifically on El Born Cultural Centre which was officially opened in September 2013 amid heightened calls for Catalan independence from Spain. A former market site, the centre’s key attraction is its archaeology which has been re-imagined and presented to communicate the horrors of war inflicted on the citizens of Barcelona following the War of Succession in 1714. Narratives that emphasise the historical degradation of Catalan political or cultural identity and/or work to reaffirm the distinct and separate nature of Catalan nationalism resonated strongly with the political reawakening of Catalonians in the run up to the 2014 November referendum on independence. The referendum which was subsequently deemed illegal by the Spanish government, and subsequent regional elections were held in 2015. In considering the negotiation of El Born during this drive for independence, this paper suggests that an examination of heritage sites and the ways in which they engage with, or are received by multiple stakeholders, can offer insights into the complexity of separatist campaigns in ethno-nationalist societies
LanguageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2016

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separatism
referendum
cultural identity
political identity
nationalism
redevelopment
archaeology
election
stakeholder
Spain
campaign
citizen
narrative
examination
market
society
Separatism
Heritage
Barcelona
Cultural Centre

Keywords

  • Heritage
  • Barcelona
  • Catalonia
  • El Born
  • Separatism

Cite this

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title = "Heritage and Separatism in Barcelona: the case of El Born Cultural Centre",
abstract = "This paper explores the ways in which heritage sites at the crux of neighbourhood renewal and redevelopment initiatives in Barcelona have been manipulated to advance Catalan separatist agendas. We focus specifically on El Born Cultural Centre which was officially opened in September 2013 amid heightened calls for Catalan independence from Spain. A former market site, the centre’s key attraction is its archaeology which has been re-imagined and presented to communicate the horrors of war inflicted on the citizens of Barcelona following the War of Succession in 1714. Narratives that emphasise the historical degradation of Catalan political or cultural identity and/or work to reaffirm the distinct and separate nature of Catalan nationalism resonated strongly with the political reawakening of Catalonians in the run up to the 2014 November referendum on independence. The referendum which was subsequently deemed illegal by the Spanish government, and subsequent regional elections were held in 2015. In considering the negotiation of El Born during this drive for independence, this paper suggests that an examination of heritage sites and the ways in which they engage with, or are received by multiple stakeholders, can offer insights into the complexity of separatist campaigns in ethno-nationalist societies",
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