José Miguel Rojo Martínez


El presente artículo explora, a partir de datos de encuesta, la situación de la identidad regional en la Comunidad de Murcia, toda vez que existe cierto consenso en la idea de que esta zona cuenta con una identidad propia débil o difusa. Como paso previo para posteriores análisis explicativos que den cuenta de la particular configuración identitaria murciana, debemos asentar unas bases cuantitativas sobre la cuestión, resultando que, en comparación con otras regiones, no existe una identidad regional tan débil como se presupone, si bien se observa una distribución interna desigual de la misma según comarca, edad y tendencias políticas.


Debates about the influence of collective identities in the political sphere are leading new lines of research at a global moment of withdrawal from the local. In this context, and especially because of the importance that territorial, national or regional, identities are having in Spain, to such an extent that we could claim to live a regionalist moment, this research aims to investigate the situation of regional identity in Murcia using survey data. First, from a comparative perspective with the rest of the country's regions and second, considering some relevant variables of the phenomenon, for instance, the pride of belonging and the identification with different territorial areas. Indicators such as pride of belonging or regional identification are subjected to bivariate analysis to explore their distribution among different population groups. This paper begins with an exhaustive theoretical review on the concept of regional identity, taking as a point of reference the constructivist paradigm of identity. In this regard, it is essential to include the postulates of the Social Identity Theory (SIT) to understand how social or collective identities generate affective bonds between people and groups, promote images abroad, develop feelings of belonging and require a certain awareness of participation in a particular reality that assigns attributes. Before moving on to the empirical headings, we compile in a state of art some of the few previous works on regional identity in Murcia. These studies show the consensus that has existed since the study by Jiménez Blanco et al. (1977) in pointing to Murcia as one of the areas of the country with less regional awareness in the political dimension. The explanations for this situation have only been previously provided by Montes del Castillo et al. (1996). They contribute two major hypotheses: the historical hypothesis (there was no autonomist sentiment in the seventies and eighties and, besides, the Region of Murcia does not coincide with a natural community) and the hypothesis of strong local identities that would be preventing the determination of a common regional space. Until now, the scant existing bibliography has raised the lack of political expression of Murcian collective identity as the most significant feature of its existence. In reality, the autonomy aspiration has been scarce in the Region of Murcia. At the same time, it is difficult to find cultural ethnic traits that facilitate the construction of one's own identity. In this sense, the only condition of possibility to institute a Murcian differential fact is as of the grievance, but that implies an activation of the regional consciousness from the political discourse. After providing a theoretical framework on regional identity, we raised a debate on the methodologies for measuring the phenomenon. This debate forces us to review the broad limitations of the Linz-Moreno Scale and the need for this measure to be completed by other variables and also with other more qualitative approaches that, however, will remain for future research on this topic since, in a first approach, attention should be focused on a descriptive and exploratory dimension. The available data statistic has revealed that within the Linz-Moreno Scale, in reality, the Region of Murcia does not have a more accentuated Spanish identity than other areas of the country or, in other words, the identification with the regional level of Murcian citizens is not substantively lower than the that the citizens of Aragon, Cantabria or Valencia have, areas where a differential fact has been successfully established. The Region of Murcia appears in these data as a territory with a strong dual identity. Nevertheless, by deepening the investigation beyond the Linz-Moreno Scale, we observe that identification with the Region of Murcia is clearly lower than identification with Spain and also, to a lesser extent, with the locality in which one resides. Furthermore, the identification with the Region of Murcia is not homogeneously distributed. Those under 30 years of age are those who least identify with the Region of Murcia, compared to those over 65 who participate more intensely in this feeling of belonging. Considering the memory of the vote, depending on the party that was voted for, the levels of regional identification change: the voters of the PP are the ones who feel more identified with the Region of Murcia. 89.48% of the voters of the current ruling conservative party feel very or quite identified, compared to 64.81% of those who voted for the party located just on the opposite ideological side, Podemos. We could therefore indicate that those least identified with the Region of Murcia are also those who feel further away from the regional government and that, in part, shows that the Murcian identity construction has been carried out from a specific political idea during the last two decades. Another of the most interesting findings is that the identification with the Region of Murcia obtains different levels depending on the region. While the region of the capital is the one that obtains the most relevant high identification data, Cartagena and the Altiplano describe significantly lower levels of identification. These uneven data, which are also produced when we analyse the variable "pride of belonging", turn the hypothesis of strong exclusionary local identities into one of the main explanations for the weak political articulation of Murcian regional identity. On the subject of local identities, it is necessary to continue to deepen future studies, especially with regard to Cartagena, a city where a center/periphery cleavage is growing that has already had important political consequences.

© Revista de estudios regionales 2014 Universidades Públicas de Andalucía