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Sociology: People


Daniel Cetrà

Daniel Cetrà
Daniel Cetrà
3.06 St John's Land @DaniCetra
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Research Interests
Nations and Nationalism, comparative territorial politics, Political Liberalism and Minority Rights, The Politics of Language, Catalonia


  • PhD in Sociology (University of Edinburgh, 2016)
  • MSc with Distinction Nationalism Studies (University of Edinburgh, 2011)
  • BA with Honours in Political Science (Pompeu Fabra University, 2010)

Research Interests

My research interests lie broadly in the study of nationalism. My doctoral research focused on the relationship between nationalism, liberalism and language from a combined political theory and political sociology perspective.

I am a Research Fellow at the ESRC-funded Centre on Constitutional Change, where I compare the evolution of sub-state nationalism and the case for independence in the Basque Country, Catalonia, Flanders and Scotland.  I  am currently developing a project on state nationalism centred on meanings of unionism in Brexit debates.



Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Refereed Book Chapters 

  • Forthcoming 2019.  ‘The State and Nationalism’, The State: Theories and Issues (2nd edition),  Macmillan (with McEwen, N.).

Research Experience

  • 2017-present.  Named Applicant. University of Aberdeen, Centre on Constitutional Change. ESRC Large Grant Between Two Unions. The Constitutional Future of the Islands after Brexit
  • 2016-17. Research Fellow. University of Edinburgh, Centre on Constitutional Change. International project Borders, Sovereignty and Self-Determination in Contemporary Europe
  • 2014-16. Research Assistant. University of Aberdeen, Centre on Constitutional Change. ESRC Large Grant The Constitutional Future of Scotland and the UK.

Teaching Experience

Lecturer and Course Co-Convenor

  • 2014-19. 'Nationalism in Modern Europe' [Honours] (University of Aberdeen)

Guest Lecturer

  • 2015-19. Comparative Perspectives in Nationalism Studies [Masters course] (University of Edinburgh, UoE)
  • 2019. Comparative Politics [Second Year] (University of Dundee)
  • 2019. Party Politics [Second Year] (UofE)
  • 2016. Nations and Nationalism [Honours and masters course] (UoE)
  • 2016. Comparing Scottish Devolution [Honours] (UoE).

Senior Tutor

  • 2012-14: 'Democracy in Comparative Perspective' [First Year] (UoE)
  • 2012-14: 'Introduction to Politics & International Relations' [First Year] (UoE)*

      * Nominated for the EUSA Teaching Awards 2012-13

Invited Talks and Expert Evidence

  • 2019. Invited to speak about unionism and state nationalism in the UK and Spain at the conference Unions and Unionisms, Queen’s University Belfast, 24-25 October.
  • 2019. Invited to speak about ‘What’s Next for Stateless Nations?’ at Self-Determination in a Context of Shared Sovereignty: How to Devise a European Approach?, conference organised by the Coppieters Foundation, Brussels, 18-19 September.
  • 2019.  Invited to speak about independence movements and Europe at Redefining Regions in Europe organised by Danube University Krems, 23-24 January.
  • 2018.  Invited to speak about sub-state nationalism and Europe at a ‘Brexit Summit’ organised by the Glasgow City Council, 2 October 2018.
  • 2018.  Briefing session with Canadian Federal Parliamentary Interns to discuss Brexit and the Catalan crisis. Centre on Constitutional Change, 19 January.
  • 2017.  ‘Managing Plurinational States: Scotland, Catalonia, Flanders and the Basque Country’, delegation of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission of the PRC (China), Edinburgh, 4 September.
  • 2016. ‘Debates within Liberal Nationalism: The Linguistic Disputes in Catalonia and Flanders’, given at the MultiCite Research Group Seminar Series, University of Geneva, 21 April. Discussant: François Grin.
  • 2014.  ‘Catalonia and Scotland: Similar Goals, Different Paths’, given at the session Small Nations and Big Ideas as part of Imagination: Scotland’s First Festival of Ideas, Glasgow, 7 September.

Research Funding 

Named Applicant, successful ESRC Large Grant 2017 Between Two Unions. The Constitutional Future of the Islands after Brexit. (£2,010,166). Three years.

Named Applicant, DIPLOCAT Direct Grant 2017 Borders, Sovereignty and Self-Determination in Contemporary Europe (£195,000). One year.

Research Grant for Foreign Doctoral Students 2013-14 (£5,200). University of Liège. Five months.

Conference Grant Awards 2012-15 (£900). The University of Edinburgh.

Workshop Organisation

2019. ‘Majority Nationalism in Plurinational States: Responding to Challenge from Above and Below’, 24-25 February, Edinburgh.

2016. Fulbright Roundtable with Professor Michael Ignatieff, 7 June, Edinburgh.

2014. Graduate conference ‘Identity, Nations and Nationalism in a Changing World’, 22 May, Edinburgh.

2011. Co-organiser. Workshop ‘Crossing Perspectives: Concepts and Methods in the Study of Nationalism’, 11 November, Edinburgh.

Conference Presentations since 2015

  • 2019. ‘Federalism, State Traditions and Language Regimes in Belgium and Spain’, presented at the IPSA Conference ‘Diversity and Democratic Governance: Legacies of the Past, Present Challenges, and Future Directions?’ (University of Sarajevo, 12-15 June 2019).
  • 2019. ‘Narratives of Nationhood in the Brexit Debates’, to be presented at the 29th ASEN Conference, Nationalism and Self-Determination, Edinburgh, 24-25 April.
  • 2018. 'The (Im)possibility of Liberal Nationalism in the Age of Trump and the Catalan Conundrum - Moving Beyond the Binaries of Nationalism Studies', University of Edinburgh, 24-26 May.
  • 2017. ‘The Politics of Language and Nationalism’, presented at the RC50 IPSA conference The Politics of Multilingualism: Possibilities and Challenges, Amsterdam, 22-24 May.
  • 2017. ‘Explaining different state responses to independence demands: the cases of the UK and Spain’, to be presented at the 67th BSA Annual Conference Politics in Interesting Times, Glasgow, 10-12 April.
  • 2016. 'Our Language, Our Rules? Nationalism and Linguistic Disputes in Catalonia and Flanders', presented at the 24th IPSA World Congress Politics in a World of InequalityJuly 23-28Poznán, Poland.
  • 2015. 'Language Rights and Territory: The Case of the Flemish Periphery of Brussels', presented at the IPSA Conference Rethinking Territoriality: Between Independence and Interdependence. University of Edinburgh.
  • 2015. 'Nationalism and Linguistic Disputes: The Case of Catalonia', presented at the ECPR General Conference. Université de Montréal.

Media Contributions


'Catalan academic fighting extradition from Scotland stirs nationalist tension', Reuters, 27-03-2018 (quoted).

'Spain-Catalonia: How can the constitutional crisis be resolved?', The Scotsman, 27-03-2018 (quoted).

'Newsdrive', BBC Radio Scotland, 26-03-2018.

'The World Tonight', BBC Radio 4, 31-10-2017.

Good Morning Scotland', BBC Radio Scotland, 28-10-2017.

'STV News Tonight', STV, 27-10-2017.

'Scotland Tonight', STV, 19-10-2017.

South African Broadcasting Corporation (RSG), 17-10-2017.

Newsdrive', BBC Radio Scotland, 04-10-2017.

'Representing Border', ITV Border, 03-10-2017.

'Good Morning Scotland', BBC Radio Scotland, 23-09-2017.

'Spain ramps up its crackdown on Catalan independence vote', The Herald, 22-09-2017 (quoted).

'Scotland Tonight', STV, 20-09-2017.

Representing Border', ITV Border, 19-09-2017.

Informativos EiTB' (Basque public TV), 18-09-2017.

Why Catalonia's independence vote is "very different" from Scotland's', The Scotsman, 14-09-2017.

La propuesta de un segundo referéndum pasa factura al independentismo escocés’, EFE (Spanish News Agency), 09-06-2017 (quoted).

En Jake, EiTB (Basque public TV), 08-06-2017.

Boulevard, Radio Euskadi (Basque public radio station), 08-06-2017.

World in Focus, Radio Sputnik UK, 04-04-2017. 

'El "Brexit" pone a prueba la cohesión política del Reino Unido', EFE (Spanish News Agency), 16-03-2017 (quoted).

'El Brexit dur aboca Escòcia a un nou però molt incert referèndum', Diari Ara (Catalan newspaper), 18-01-2017 (quoted).

‘Catalonia still asking for independence’, EU Observer, 12-09-2016 (quoted).

Boulevard, Radio Euskadi (Basque radio station), 23-06-2016

'L'SNP repeteix victòria a Escòcia però es queda a tocar de la majoria absoluta', Nació Digital (Catalan online newspaper), 06-05-2016

Good Morning Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland, 13-01-2016 (47.30 mins in)

Representing Border, ITV Border, 12-01-2016 (16.48 mins in)

Representing Border, ITV Border, 10-09-2015 (10.05 mins in)

‘Catalans eye new independence “referendum”’, Al Jazeera, 29-01-2015 (quoted)

Ganbara, Radio Euskadi (Basque radio station), 14-11-2014

Sunday Politics Scotland, BBC One, 09-11-2014

Good Morning Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland, 07-11-2014

‘Scotland votes “No” but others still say “Yes”’, Ozy, 20-09-2014 (quoted)

Hoy por Hoy, Cadena SER (Spanish radio station), 19-09-2014.

‘Le référendum en Écosse sous la loupe des indépendantistes à travers le monde’, L’Orient Le Jour (Lebanese newspaper), 18-09-2014

NTN24 (Latin America news channel), 18-09-2014

El Món a Rac 1, Rac 1 (Catalan radio station), 18-09-2014

‘Debate: qué tan distintos son Escocia e Inglaterra?’, BBC Mundo, 17-09-2014 (online chat)

‘Es poco factible que el Gobierno español vete la entrada de Escocia en la Unión Europea’, DEIA (Basque newspaper), 13-09-2014

Press Articles and Blog Posts

'The trial of the Catalan pro-independence leaders is the most important since the restoration of democracy in Spain', Holyrood Magazine, 13-10-2019.

'Catalonia Two Years After the 2017 Independence Referendum', Centre on Constitutional Change blog, 01-10-2019.

'Catalonia at a Crossroads', Centre on Constitutional Change blog, 27-03-2018.

'Catalonia's "difficult balancing act"', The Herald, 12-10-2017.

How will Spain respond to a Catalan independence vote?', The Herald, 04-10-2017.

Comparing Scotland and Catalonia's bid for independence', The Herald, 13-09-2017.

'El dilema d'un segon referèndum a Escòcia', El Punt Avui (Catalan newspaper), 09-12-2016

‘Roadmaps and gridlock: the drive for Catalan independence’, CCC Blog, 12-09-2016.

'Catalan elections: three possible scenarios that could shape Catalonia's future', LSE EUROPP Blog, 24-09-2015

'Decision Time for Catalonia', Centre on Constitutional Change, 29-07-2015 

'Labour’s coalition dilemma has Spanish echoes', Centre on Constitutional Change, 16-03-2015

'A symbolic and non-binding vote on independence in Catalonia', The Future of the UK and Scotland, 10-11-2014

'Catching the Referendum bug', The Future of the UK and Scotland, 01-10-2014

'Spain is unlikely to veto an independent Scotland’s EU membership', LSE EUROPP Blog, 15-09-2014

'Scotland vote may change little in Catalonia – but Cameron’s an unlikely hero there', The Conversation, 13-09-2014

'The Flemish Nationalists may have been successful in Sunday's (other) elections, but it will be a bumpy road to government', Political Studies Association Blog, 29-05-2014

'Belgium won't split after Sunday's elections, but it could take a step in that direction', The Conversation, 20-05-2014

'Quebec's Election', The Future of the UK and Scotland, 15-04-2014

'Catalonia deadlocked as nationalists plan new offensive', The Conversation, 02-04-2014

Community Involvement 

Book Reviews Editor. Regional and Federal Studies, 2018 – present. 

Assistant Editor. Regional and Federal Studies, 2012 – 2017.

Member. IPSA Research Committee 50 (RC50) The Politics of Language.

Member. Territorial Politics Research Group, University of Edinburgh.

Book Reviews for the Swiss Political Science Review, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism; Regional and Federal Studies; Journal of Catalan Studies.