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This book analyses the rise and decline of the Basque terrorist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA, Basque Homeland and Freedom). ETA declared a unilateral ceasefire in November 2011, bringing to a close a campaign of political violence that started in the late 1960s. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, the overwhelming majority of secession supporters agreed that an independent Basque homeland would be realised through ‘ballots’ and not ‘bullets’.
Providing an inter-disciplinary overview of radical Basque nationalism that pays special attention to the drivers for ETA’s decline, defeat and disbandment, this book includes chapters by historians, political scientists and sociologists who offer three important theoretical and empirical contributions to the literature on nationhood and security studies. Firstly the book re-assesses the military conflict that opposed ETA and the Spanish state, by paying special attention to tactical and strategic considerations as well as the counter-terrorist policy itself. Secondly it provides an original interpretation of the politics of fear which surrounded the process of victimization, as well as assessing the extent to which the issue of violence led to the polarisation of citizens. Thirdly the authors examine the historical narratives and rituals that contributed to the production and reproduction of identity binaries and memories of war.
Arguing that the defeat of ETA must be contextualised within the strategic evolution of Basque nationalism, the declining resonance of the radical message and the effectiveness of the Spanish counter-terrorist effort, this book is essential reading for students and scholars working in the areas of European politics, nationalism and terrorism studies.