The national movements of sub-state national societies are divided into two or three competing political orientations (independentists, autonomists, and federalists), which vary over time. This article compares the process that led to the founding of the ADQ (autonomism) in Quebec, with the process that culminated in the transformation and de facto re-founding of ERC (independentism) in Catalonia during the period 1976-2005. Using the cases of two nationalist parties in two different national movements that have successfully established new political orientations, I analyze the political origins of this form of temporal variation. My outcome variable is the “tipping point” at which these nationalist political parties get established. This “tipping point” was reached through a temporal sequence that evolved in four phases. In each of these phases, a key variable was involved: the existence of a preexistent ideology, the occurrence of a central state constitutional moment, an impulse from the sphere of sociological nationalism, and the consolidation of a new leadership nucleus.
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