Afraid of what? Why Islamist terrorism and the Catalan independence question became conflated in representations of the 2017 Barcelona attacks


This article analyses why the issue of terrorism and the quest for independence in Catalonia, which are fundamentally different matters, became conflated in representations of and responses to the terrorist violence of 17 August 2017 in Barcelona and Cambrils. Pro-independence discourses and messages that developed in response not only to the attacks themselves, but also to the Spanish authorities’ handling of the situation, were successfully used to further the sense of group cohesion that had gradually been built over several years beforehand by pro-independence activists, and which was so crucial to attempts to increase support for independence in the run-up to the illegal referendum of 1 October 2017. This is shown through two case studies: first, the use of the phrase ‘No tinc por’ (‘I’m not afraid’) in defiance not only of Islamist terrorists, but also of Spanish politicians refusing to allow an independence referendum; and second, the role and depiction of the Mossos d’Esquadra (the Catalan police) in the aftermath of the attacks, especially the making of a hero out of Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero Álvarez.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Politics, History and International Relations
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College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Bulletin of Spanish Studies on 2 Sept 2019, available online at:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Catalan independence,Catalonia,Civil Society,Islamist terrorism,Mossos d’Esquadra,‘No tinc por’,Cultural Studies,Literature and Literary Theory
Publication ISSN: 1475-3820
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2024 07:46
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2019 16:07
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Related URLs: https://tandfon ... 20.2019.1651007 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2019-09-02
Accepted Date: 2018-12-10
Authors: Gray, Caroline (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-8634-1468)



Version: Accepted Version

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