November, 1 & 2, 2008, Gothemburg, Sweden

« Do the political ideas cross the Borders in the Basque Country? »

I submit a proposal about the circulation of political ideas in the Basque area, between France and Spain. (To remind: Basque Country It is made up of the Spanish provinces of Álava, Vizcaya and Guipúzcoa, the Autonomous Community of Navarre, and the French areas (not recognized as administrative regions by the French nation-State administration) of Baxe-Nafarroa, Lapurdi and Zuberoa.).

In a wide-open perspective, this paper will deal with international comparisons, single and empirical local studies with a theoretical and comparative background, thanks to sociohistorical explorations.

Locally French/Spanish Basque actors (political parties, trade unions, cultural associations, media, NICT…) defend « their » perceptions of Basque reality which contrast with the Nation-State representations and respective sovereignty (France and in Spain). In these complex cross-border and trans-national contexts, words, ideas and political argument don’t mean the same. As Blaise Pascal said: « What is true in this side of the Pyrenees is false in the other side ».

I’d like to present a transversal approach of the Basque providers over the three different territories which form Basque Country (i.e. three political and administrative situations which are Spanish Basque Country, Navarre and French Basque Country). Accordingly, I’ll illustrate how these actors have incorporated institutional configurations, multilevel environments (in terms of relationship between local, regional, national and the supranational structures) and opportunities offered by the Europeanization process but also by the new technologies (particularly for the Basque and globalized Diaspora).

Putting the emphasis on each historical situation, I would like to illustrate how European and globalized referents are used to defend their own political interests within or against the States they stand. It supposes strategic choices (at every level local/regional/national/European…), specific discourses and thematic (about Basque identity, Basque language, Basque culture, Basque. institutions…) adapted in multi-contextualized environment. Despite a common Basque cognitive imaginary, multiple political representations of Basque identity and shared/common future appear.