Referenda and nationalism: A process of self-realization?

This week the annual Scottish Social Attitudes survey revealed that since 2011, the year in which the SNP’s electoral victory started the process of next month’s referendum, the chosen identity of Scots has changed dramatically. Whether this is a direct result of the referendum campaign is an area rich for research. Having just finished my own MSc thesis on the issue of secession referenda, I was fascinated by the survey and what it says about the referendum device.

The findings, and the upcoming referendum, have convinced me to publish my thesis on here. I have also been asked by a few friends to email the research to them, presumably as a cure for longstanding insomnia.

A qualifier: My research focused on Quebec and Latvia where the linguistic divide made the cases evidently ethnic in character. When compared with similar cases, Scottish nationalism is not ethnic in character – as an example, Catholics and Protestants will not find themselves uniformly on opposing sides. Its use, if there is any, for those interested in the case of Scotland is in the impact the referendum device has on the identity of an electorate.

Putting this here is slightly intimidating but I’m proud of the work and I’m absolutely intrigued by the way in which the phenomenon of nationalism and the device of referenda intersect, so I look forward to any debate that arises.


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