The Cornish paradox: ethnoregionalism in a hybrid territory
University of Exeter
This article addresses a gap in the literature on nationalism, the case of Cornwall. Cornish ethnoregionalism presents a paradox; a minority nationalist movement that has sustained itself politically for more than a half a century, culturally for more than century, yet one that has achieved little electoral or policy success. It is argued here that Cornwall has been conceptualised hitherto too rigidly within one of two paradigms – as a Celtic country or as an English county. Instead, recognising this hybridity allows us to extend Lieven De Winter’s work on European ethnoregionalist parties to explain both the weakness of Cornish ethnoregionalism and its persistence, albeit at relatively low levels of activity. By investigating the Cornish case theory on ethnoregionalist parties is applied comparatively, leading to the conclusion that utilising a number of perspectives at differing scales opens out our understanding of concrete cases of minority nationalism.