Legal unity and diversity in Spanish Nation-building


Nation-building and state-building processes in Europe and Latin America led to the formal elimination of the previously existing legal diversity and the construction of national, state-based legal systems. More often than not, modernization meant legal unification and centralization.

While this was the rule, legal diversity did not disappear completely. There were occasions when different normative orders resisted the unification projects. Contrary to how regionalism is often portrayed in the research as an obstacle to modernization, there are indeed cases in which diversity served as an alternative path to it. Spain is perhaps the most interesting case.

The aim of my research is to study regionalism and regional laws during the process of nation- and state-building in Spain. Here, the French model of unification of private law failed. As a consequence, regional “derechos forales” were not eliminated and still exist today. The study of the Spanish codification will allow me to examine the links between law and collective identity, between national law and regional law, as well as between legal equality and diversity.

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