Utopian Movements

Basque ‘68 in Light of Cultural Nationalism and Critical Utopia

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In enlightened or utilitarian reasoning, nationalism is considered a reactionary and irrational belief in an invented tradition. Utopian imaginary, for its part, is cast into the background together with escapist fantasy or useless science fiction. This paper will look at alternative theories that challenge these interpretations. In this new light, utopianism serves as a critique of the status quo and an impulse against it – Ernst Bloch’s principle of hope and Tom Moylan’s critical utopia are our compass in this regard. On the other hand, cultural nationalism is interpreted as a desire to modernise a community through cultural praxis and not subordinated to state-building projects, as argued by John Hutchinson.

These theories are the framework for the revision of the Basque ‘68. As far as nationalism is concerned, this period has been interpreted from a political perspective, with the foundation of ETA and demands for independence as the key features. The new framework, however, allows us to consider cultural praxis as a way to critically recreate the community through new utopian imaginaries. Therefore, the Basque ‘68 keeps the nation’s imaginary from being subordinated to statist politics and becomes an ambiguous yet open-ended movement in search of the (n)ever true Heimat.

Keywords: Critical utopia, Cultural nationalism, Praxis, Heimat

How to Cite: Azurmendi-Arrue, H. & Garmendia Castaños, A. (2019) “Basque ‘68 in Light of Cultural Nationalism and Critical Utopia”, Studies in Arts and Humanities. 5(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.18193/sah.v5i1.157