The Bretons in French Politics: Regional Mobilization within and beyond the Central State

Alistair Cole*, Romain Pasquier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This article revisits the French region of Brittany on the basis of sustained empirical research over a 25-year period. It identifies the twin use of influence and identity as forming a key part of an accepted and largely diffused territorial repertoire, based on affirming distinctiveness for reasons of vertical linkage, as well as horizontal capacity building. This article explores the different facets of this model of territorial influence. The two twin dimensions concern: first, a well-versed mechanism of lobbying central institutions and actors to defend the Breton interest; second, the use of territorial identity markers to forward the regional cause, relying on social movements and a broad capacity for regional mobilization. Within this overarching context, the Breton case demonstrates an intelligent instrumental use of identity and identity markers, but mainstream Breton forces recognize that this only makes sense in the light of the national level of regulation and structure of opportunities. The logic of this position is to integrate the Brittany region into a national model of territorial integration, while playing up identity markers to secure the maximum benefit for the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1074-1089
Number of pages16
JournalNationalities Papers
Issue number5
Early online date7 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations

User-Defined Keywords

  • Brittany
  • France
  • Paris
  • decentralization
  • regionalism


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