Name: Javier Martínez Cantó
Field: Political Science
Country: Spain
Occupation: Doctoral fellow
Research Interests: Political Parties, Political Elites, Electoral Behaviour, Presidentialization of Politics, Legislative Politics


▐  Javier Martínez Cantó, one of our doctoral fellows, was recently awarded the IV Grant for Research "Llegat Pasqual Maragall 2018" with a project titled "Partidism and (of) federal loyalty in the Spanish autonomous state". The winning project has been chosen from among 19 candidatures for a jury formed by members of the academic board of the Fundació Catalunya Europa.


In an interview, Javier Martínez Cantó talks about his inspiration for and motivation behind his project.

What inspired you to analyze parties and federal loyalty in the Spanish autonomous state?

  JMC. In my dissertation, I study the sub-national level as a strategy for capturing greater variance on political parties behaviour that the one we can observe on national politics due to the lack of possible cases. However, during the process of data collection as long as I was reading more on parties acting at the sub-national level, I became increasingly interested in the sub-national dynamics per se. Interestingly, the same set of countries I use in my dissertation, Spain, Germany and Canada, present different institutional settings regarding federalism and decentralisation. That fact pushed me to think why federalism seems to “work” quite well in Canada and Germany but not so well in Spain. That reflection was the beginning of the research project as it pushed me to think on the possible underlying conditions for this outcome. In the project, I build in previous literature to propose that what happened in Spain is that the informal intra-party relations were more important for decision-making processes between the national government and the sub-national governments than the formal institutional relations. In the project I will study three cases were this fact may be observed, namely during the processes of sub-national government formation, government stability and bargaining processes between the national and sub-national governments.

When did you know the idea was ripe for funding and why did you choose to apply for the "Llegat Pasqual Maragall 2018" grant in particular?

  JMC. I had this idea on my mind for quite a long as a possible short-term research project. However, it was discovering the call for the Llegat Pasqual Maragall 2018 grant that pushed me to put my thoughts on paper. This grant is awarded to young researchers in honour of the former Catalan PM and mayor of Barcelona Pasqual Maragall to work on one of the topics Maragall himself reflected during his time in public office. One of those topics is federalism and the construction of multi-level governance both within Spain and within the EU. The fact that one of the topics fitted so well with my original idea greatly encouraged me to apply.

What difficulties did you come across?

  JMC. I think one of the main challenges when writing grant proposals, especially if its one of your first ones, is to keep the balance between desirability and feasibility. On the one hand, you would like to inquire about the many different aspects of your idea and go very in deep into each different issue. However, time is limited, and you should be able to the grant committee something feasible to complete during the period they propose.

What is your strategy for the next year?

  JMC. Right now my main challenge is to combine the finishing of my dissertation with the start of my new project. Fortunately, I won’t start with the new one till next November, so I have some time for planning.


// Interview: Madalena dos Reis Gonçalves







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