This Research Axis asks whether local autonomy has helped or thwarted regional nationalism. This sub-project is directed by the Principal Investigator, Ass-Prof Sean Mueller.
The puzzle? On the one hand, local autonomy offers regionalist entrepreneurs a springboard to showcase their policy skills. For example, the leader of the Flemish nationalist party N-VA, Bart De Wever, became mayor of Antwerp in 2012/3. However, powerful cities can also block regional nation-building by offering local pragmatism and global cosmopolitanism instead. Thus, Barcelona saw the election of the “communalist” Ada Colau as mayor in 2015, thwarting the hope of regional secessionist to govern their own capital.