Toward a New Cosmopolitanism in Contemporary Catalan Drama


In the contemporary Catalan theatre scene, mobility is often synonymous with prestige, and success is frequently measured as a function of international range and reputation. Moreover, for dramatists writing in Catalan, ever-conscious of the precarious condition of their language and cultural identity, their paradoxical position of both political distance and proximity in relation to Spain has, perhaps, accentuated their yearning to belong to a larger global sphere. Given Catalonia’s status as a stateless nation (or, as a disputed territory), it may not come as a surprise, then, that plays emerging from this corner of the world often appear to advocate a type of cosmopolitan European identity, one that actively embraces otherness and difference, overlapping citizenships, and the broad complexity of relationships among the global, local, national, and regional. It is a brand of cosmopolitanism—reminiscent of the work of culturaltheorist/philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah—that seeks to move beyond the confines of the nation-state to encourage new paradigms of solidarity and interconnectedness that accentuate cultural and linguistic pluralism. How have Catalan playwrights attempted to satisfy, both literally and figuratively, a desire to transcend the local and the particular, to reach beyond their most immediate geographic space and move beyond local borders, both spatial and political? I shall examine a sampling of recent Catalan plays in light of this “new cosmopolitanism."

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Copyright © 2022 Journal of Catalan Studies. This article first appeared in Vol. 1 No. 23 (2022): Special Issue – (Dis)Articulating Identities: Multilingualism in the Catalan Countries – Edited by Rhiannon McGlade and Brad Epps.

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