The new state of an old nation

By Murray Stewart Leith and Duncan Sim



  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9255-2
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: March 2020
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Society & culture: general, Scotland, Society & social sciences / Comparative politics, Politics, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Scotland, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Comparative Politics


Scotland's future in the Union is in question.

Since Devolution in 1997, there has been a sea-change in Scotland's sense of itself. A distinct Scottish political culture has emerged: confident, assertive and increasingly divergent from that of its southern neighbours. Yet, as this timely and perceptive book shows, Scottish nationalism has been on the rise since the Second World War.

Today, the Scottish National Party are in the ascendant, winning nearly half of all votes cast in the 2019 General Election and most of the seats. The Scottish Parliament has been a legislative trail-blazer, enacting progressive legislation well before England and Wales. And Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union, putting it at odds with much of the rest of the United Kingdom on the most important political decision this century. The country has transformed from the socially and politically conservative climate of the post-war period to a nation contemplating, for the second time, a move to independence - for all the uncertainty and turmoil that would bring.

At a time when the country's future has topped the agenda in Britain and abroad, this book unpicks the complex weave of Scottish politics, society and culture, providing an essential insight into Scotland's present - and its future.


'For those who wish to understand Scotland today, this very readable book, based on the best recent research, offers information, insight and understanding across a range of key topics. It is an important and reliable guide to the past and present of an ancient nation facing a challenging future.'
Sir Tom Devine, Professor Emeritus, The University of Edinburgh


1 Introduction
2 When was Scotland?
3 Scotland's identity
4 Images of Scotland
5 Learning and working Scotland
6 Scotland and gender
7 'Ethnic' Scotland
8 Political Scotland - Duncan McTavish
9 Elites in Scotland - David Torrance
10 Scotland abroad
11 Scotland in England
12 Art and culture in Scotland
13 Scotland, tourism and heritage
14 Scotland and sport
15 Conclusion: Contemporary Scotland


Murray Stewart Leith is Professor of Political Science at the University of the West of Scotland

Duncan Sim is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow and former Reader in Sociology at the University of the West of Scotland

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