Competing States: The Use of Public Policy by Minority and Majority Nations

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Couture Gagnon, Alexandre




Since the mid-1900's, minority nationalistic movements within larger states have grown throughout the industrialized world. The rise of these minority nations' consciousness confronts their respective majority nation's self-definition. Within a given country, both the minority nation and the majority one thus engage in competition for loyalty. This competition is played out at the level of the state, that is, the minority nation's and the majority nation's governments fight for their citizens' loyalty through public policies. In order to study this phenomenon,
this dissertation examines two case studies: Catalonia in Spain and Québec in Canada. A model has been developed to describe the dynamics of competition via public policy between the minority nation and the majority nation.

Three policy areas are studied: language, foreign affairs, and immigration policy. The key element to the competition between the minority nation and the majority nation is the incrementalism of the minority nation's request for more power from the majority nation. The smaller the change required, the more the minority nation gains in the long term. Confrontation
between a minority nation's and a majority nation's governments will take place when a government thinks that it has an advantage or when it wants to advance a public policy in a significant manner. Macro-confrontation, that is, confrontation across policy fields, happens around referendums on sovereignty and periods of high political tension.

This research's objective is two-fold. First, it portends to describe competition between the minority nation's and its respective majority nation's governments over the citizens' loyalty through public policies. Second,
it asserts that the competition may be modeled for most industrialized federal states.


SOCIAL SCIENCES Political Science - Public Administration
SOCIAL SCIENCES Canadian Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCES Political Science - General




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Doctor of Philosophy: 

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Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Public Policy

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Theses and Dissertations

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