ETA's Terrorist Campaign: From Violence to Politics, 1968–2015, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

ETA's Terrorist Campaign

From Violence to Politics, 1968–2015, 1st Edition

Edited by Rafael Leonisio, Fernando Molina, Diego Muro


238 pages | 25 B/W Illus.

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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.

Table of Contents


Rafael Leonisio, Fernando Molina and Diego Muro

Part I: ETA and the Spanish State

1. The origins of ETA: between Francoism and democracy, 1958-1981

Gaizka Fernández

2. ETA during democracy, 1981-2014  

Diego Muro

3. Democratisation of the Spanish state: between extreme right-wing violence and police brutality (1978-1987)

Jose Antonio Pérez

4. Democratic Politics and the strength of the Rule of Law, 1992-2015

Óscar Jaime Jiménez

Part II: The Politics of Fear

5. Epic, memory and the making of an uncivil community

Jesús Casquete

6. The practice of killing: perpetrators and accomplices

Javier Gómez

7. The impact of ethno-nationalist violence: Comparing the experiences of victims of ETA and paramilitaries in Northern Ireland

Javier Argomaniz

8. Between fear, indignation and indifference. Basque public opinion and socio-political behavior facing terrorism

Rafael Leonisio and Raúl López

Part III: Narratives and Memory

9. Historical narratives, violence and nation. Reconsidering ‘The Basque conflict’

Martín Alonso and Fernando Molina

10. The battle for the past: Community, forgetting, democracy

Luis Castells and Antonio Rivera

11. Basque violence in the international academy

Francisco J. Caspistegui

12. Conclusion

Rafael Leonisio, Fernando Molina and Diego Muro

About the Editors

Rafael Leonisio is Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of the Basque Country, Spain.

Fernando Molina is tenured Research Fellow at the University of the Basque Country, Spain.

Diego Muro is Assistant Professor at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI), Spain.

About the Series

Extremism and Democracy

This series covers academic studies within the broad fields of ‘extremism’ and ‘democracy’, with volumes focusing on adjacent concepts such as populism, radicalism, and ideological/religious fundamentalism. These topics have been considered largely in isolation by scholars interested in the study of political parties, elections, social movements, activism, and radicalisation in democratic settings. A key focus of the series, therefore, is the (inter-)relation between extremism, radicalism, populism, fundamentalism, and democracy. Since its establishment in 1999, the series has encompassed both influential contributions to the discipline and informative accounts for public debate. Works will seek to problematise the role of extremism, broadly defined, within an ever-globalising world, and/or the way social and political actors can respond to these challenges without undermining democratic credentials.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Nationalism
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism