Civic Culture: Scotland's Struggle for its Political Interests

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Virginia Tech


Politics today is facing a troubling trend towards the empowerment of nationalist movements. With strong historical traditions and a powerful Scottish National Party, Scotland would appear to be a prime candidate for such movements. However, this thesis argues that Scotland represents a nation with a unique civic culture. This thesis seeks to determine which elements of Scottish political and cultural history have led to its modern day civic culture, in the form of a civic nationalism, or patriotism. It asks: why is Scottish nationalism unique, and why does it matter? To answer, I have broken down the thesis into three main chapters that consider the theories of nationalism that are significant to the study of Scottish nationalism, the foundations of Scottish nationalism, and how Scottish nationalism manifests itself in civic contexts. The results reflect that Scottish civic culture deeply permeates the nation's politics. Even when given the opportunity for independence, Scotland chose to remain a part of the United Kingdom in order to maintain its interests with the European Union. And, while political cultures are subject to rapid change, the current state of Scottish culture reflects a civic manifestation.



Scotland, national identity, civic culture, 2014 Independence referendum, 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum