National Identities in Post-Devolution Scotland

Ross Bond, Michael Rosie
2002 Scottish Affairs  
A number of recent studies have described the changing responses of survey respondents in Scotland when questioned on their national identities (see, for example, Paterson et al (2001 ), Brown et al (1998 ), Bennie et al (1997). Broadly speaking such studies have discerned a rise in feelings of (or identification with) Scottishness, and a seemingly related decline in Britishness, since the early 1990s. This process, on the surface, seems to map closely on to the rising desire for constitutional
more » ... change and for the enthusiasm with which change, when it came, was received. The new devolved settlement has, in turn, given rise to a more widespread reflection among leading academics and commentators on the contemporary status of Britain and Britishness (Nairn, 2000; Marr, 2000) , not to mention the renewed vigour with which scholarly and journalistic communities have concentrated their gaze upon Scottishness. Our purpose in this article is to bring identity and constitutional change together under an empirical lens. We do this, firstly, by examining national identities in post-devolution Scotland within the context of broader historical trends. We then go on to assess evidence relating to the relative importance of such identities, before gauging their political significance. The latter is achieved by investigating how national identities relate to individuals' political attributes and attitudes to devolution now that the Scottish parliament is an established fact, and now that we are approaching the second Scottish Parliamentary election. Our findings are based on analysis of the Third Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, conducted in 2001, and comparison with findings from other recent surveys. National Identities in Pre-and Post-Devolution Scotland Before we turn to the contemporary situation it is worthwhile to examine the broad pattern of change in national identities in Scotland over the last 25 years or so. This can be clearly seen in the Table 1 , which notes the responses in Scotland to questions of which term respondents felt 'best' described their 'nationality [1]:
doi:10.3366/scot.2002.0035 fatcat:vefsb4gx3jgrdlrdmtupsrwlki