Nationalism from above and below: Interrogating 'race', 'ethnicity' and belonging in post-devolutionary Scotland

Liinpää, Minna (2018) Nationalism from above and below: Interrogating 'race', 'ethnicity' and belonging in post-devolutionary Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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2014 was a politically interesting and eventful year in Scotland due to an independence referendum taking place. The referendum also provided a sociologically interesting moment: as the ‘Scottish nation’ was widely debated and reflected upon both prior and after the referendum, this political context provided an opportune moment to consider how nationalist narratives are constructed, expressed and experienced both from above and below. Thus, drawing on data collected before and after the referendum, this thesis seeks to make an original contribution to the broad field of nationalism studies. Specifically, it focuses on the relationship between nationalist narratives and ‘ethnicity’, ‘race’, and belonging in Scotland. The fieldwork took place between May 2014 and September 2015, and this thesis draws on data gathered using a number of qualitative methods: interviews, observation and content analysis. Though the findings emerge within the political context of the referendum, this thesis seeks to situate them in a historically informed, post-devolutionary framework. This thesis has two broad aims: on the one hand it seeks to interrogate the post-devolutionary relationship between nationalism and minority communities within Scotland. In relation to this, it seeks to uncover the ways in which nationalist narratives are constructed and publicly expressed from above by the SNP, and how individuals from different ethnic minority backgrounds interpret, make sense of and potentially challenge nationalist narratives in and through their daily lives and experiences. On the other hand, this thesis aims to understand and investigate the legislative, institutional and structural contexts for the management and creation of ‘the nation’ and who belongs to it, as well as the individual, subjective understandings and negotiations of ‘the nation’ and how one’s place within it is understood. Contrary to much existing scholarship, this thesis argues that the SNP’s nationalism does not take a wholly civic form (and indeed that the civic/ethnic dichotomy is analytically unhelpful). Further, it underlines the importance of ‘values’ and emotions to nationalist narratives, and the centrality of England as Scotland’s ‘national other’. Finally, the findings shed light on ethnic minorities’ complex and often contradictory experiences of nationalist narratives — the findings support Smith’s (2016) argument that the capacity to experience the everyday as unreflective is a privilege. Ethnic minorities encounter continuous implicit and explicit challenges to their sense of belonging —consequently, in a ‘hyper-nationalist’ context the nation merely becomes louder.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: nationalism, Scotland, race, everyday nationalism, qualitative research.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Smith, Dr. Andrew and Virdee, Prof. Satnam
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Dr Minna Liinpää
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-30906
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2018 13:27
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2018 08:48

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