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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Daniel Cetrà

Daniel Cetrà
Daniel Cetrà
Sociology School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
3.06 St John's Land @DaniCetra
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Research Interests
Nations and Nationalism, Political Liberalism and Minority Rights, Territorial Politics, The Politics of Language


  • 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)

PhD Title

Debating within Liberal Nationalism: The Linguistic Disputes in Catalonia and Flanders



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 currently a Research Fellow at the Centre on Constitutional Change, where I compare the evolution of minority nationalism and the case for independence in the Basque Country, Catalonia, Flanders and Scotland. More recently, I explore the territorial implications of Brexit and the prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum.



Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Refereed Book Chapters 

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

Book Reviews

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


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

Guest Lecturer

  • 2015-19. Comparative Perspectives in Nationalism Studies [postgraduate course] (University of Edinburgh, UoE)
  • 2016. Nations and Nationalism [Honours and postgraduate course] (UoE)
  • 2016. Comparing Scottish Devolution [Honours] (UoE).

Senior Tutor

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

      * Nominated for the EUSA Teaching Awards 2012-13

Conference Presentations

  • 2019. ‘Federalism, State Traditions and Language Regimes in Belgium and Spain’, to be 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.
  • 2013. 'Political Liberalism versus Linguistic Nationalism? Examining the Contested Claims on Linguistic Justice in Catalonia and Flanders', presented at Language policies in multilingual societies: can the conflict be avoided? Pablo de Olavide University, Seville.

Invited Talks and Expert Evidence

  • 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.
  • 2013.  ‘Scottish Autonomy’, given at the session Meglio Soli o Accompagnati? La Governance dell’autonomia in Europa, Officina dell’autonomia, Trento, 13 May.

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

'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


Research Grant for Foreign Doctoral Students 2012-13. Spiral Research Centre, University of Liège . 

Conference Grant Award 2012 and 2013. The University of Edinburgh.

Community Involvement 

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

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

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

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

Participant. Summer School ‘Politics in Fragmented Societies: Cohesion, Recognition, Redistribution and Secession’, co-organised by the Institute for Minority Rights (EURAC) and the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Bozen / Bolzano, 15-26 June 2015.

Discussant. Workshop ‘Recognition and Redistribution in Multinational Federations’, organised by the Research Group in Political Philosophy of KU Leuven, 2-4 May 2013.

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

Member. Territorial Politics Research Group, University of Edinburgh.