Secessionists vs. Unionists in Catalonia: Mood, Emotional Profiles and Beliefs about Secession. Perspectives in Two Confronted Communities

Political tensions created by Catalonian secessionism within Spain are unsettled one year after the failed proclamation of independence at 27th October 2017. A big segment of citizens (38% – 48% of the region population) supports secession, but there is another portion of citizenry, of similar size, that has resisted secessionist aspirations. Secessionism acquired forceful impetus along the last decade, wining consecutive regional elections and two (illegal) consultations about self-determination.

A rise of activism, however, showed by unionists both at street demonstrations and at the last Regional election, consolidated a draw within a deeply polarized and divided society. We present an analysis of survey data that distinguish prevalent mood and emotion profiles among unionist vs. secessionist segments. Despite their protracted and unsuccessful venture, secessionists felt much less tired and confused than unionists, and they referred to be much less fearful and more hopeful about political and economic future. We link those distinctive feelings and disparate beliefs about current difficulties with a cognitive distortion noticeable only among secessionists, about the real magnitude of their force.

We discuss these findings connecting such cognitive and affective profiles with features of a compounded ethno-cultural frontier based mainly on habitual language (Catalan vs. Spanish) and family-descent origins that have probably worked as the principal alignment vector. This social cleavage might function as a fracture line for extremist aggravations of a serious political conflict within the European Union.

(Psychology, 2019, 10)