The historiography of an 'invisible nation'. Debating Brittany

Authors: Tudi Kernalegenn , Yann Fournis

  • The historiography of an 'invisible nation'. Debating Brittany


    The historiography of an 'invisible nation'. Debating Brittany

    Authors: ,


Brittany appears to be an 'invisible nation', in as much the nationalist movement fails to establish a hegemonic representation of the Breton society as a nation in resistance against French nation building. This brief analysis of Breton historiography intends to show that two historiographical cycles (1830-1964 and from 1964 onwards) offer a contrasting narrative of the historicity of the Breton society. After a static and 'ontological' stage, the more recent conception of historical development is centred on a dynamic conception of the nation, highlighting the overlap of national and social issues in each historical phase. This 'refondation' contributes to a real inclusion of nationalism in the current Breton society but, too, nourishes severe polemics in the media around the history and historiography of the nationalist movement. Finally, the lately intervention of the scientific knowledge is welcomed: it helps to reframe these debates around significant facts, even if work is still needed to really understand the pending Breton paradox: a strong and recognised identity, which lacks any determinant political translation up to now.

Keywords: Brittany, Breton national movement, French nation, Breton society, Breton identity

How to Cite:

Kernalegenn, T. & Fournis, Y., (2013) “The historiography of an 'invisible nation'. Debating Brittany”, Studies on National Movements 1(1), 24. doi:

Download PDF
View PDF



Published on
30 Dec 2013
Peer Reviewed