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Peacebuilding Beyond Terrorism? Revisiting the Narratives of the Basque Conflict


Studies in Conflict and TerrorismJournal abstract

Taking stock of critical peace research and agonistic politics, this article revisits the Basque conflict to examine the role of the state's counterterrorist narrative and that of the Basque civil society in the elimination of violence. It argues that violence could have ended sooner if Spanish governments had sought to engage with the non- and antiviolent independentist discourse of broad sectors of the Basque society, rather than criminalizing it as they rightly did with the radical/extremist nationalists. Had they done so, they could have capitalized on Basque civil society's strong antiviolent and anti–Euskadi Ta Askatasuna discourse to marginalize the terrorist organization and its networks of support. The article presents a framework that makes possible the marginalization of militancy and extremism in cases where the state accepts to negotiate the legitimacy of the demands of non- and/or antiviolent nationalists.

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