Acceptance or Challenge?
Between nationhood and statehood, unionism and nationalism: Scotland’s identity politics in the devolution discourse since the 1950s
Abstract: The paper looks at selected attempts made to construct Scottish identity within the dialectic of nationalist identity politics, a phenomenon narrated at the local and/or regional Scottish level, and a broader level of public discourse in post-devolution Britain. Based on the concept of cultural capital, and building up on selected approaches to culture, memory and identity, emphasis is placed on the analysis of the activities undertaken by the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government, including a variety of related actors within the socio-political framework, as an attempt to enhance Scottish identity and its role within the UK and Europe following the successful 1997 devolution referendum and subsequent “institutionalisation of Scottishness”. Hinging further on Paasi’s notion of “socio-spatial” region-construction to examine the role “cultural otherness” plays in the process of devolution and the political effects and tensions created, it is argued that creating the “story of Scotland” is not merely a purely cognitive concept, restricted to the abstract domain of political discourse, but a vibrant construct heavily relying on the post-national understanding of identity politics in the post-devolution era. Admittedly, constructing Scottish identity is truly a dialectical enterprise, and, as such, is narrated it on various levels, including the larger UK-wide context, and that of the EU. Scotland is an emerging nation-construction in the post-devolution era, and constructing Scotland as a geographically-coherent entity is an unfolding narration of its cultural separateness, stirring controversy over the extent to which a deeper separation leading to independence will undermine the unity...
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