Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Sutcliffe, John

Keywords

Devolution, Feelings Towards Independence, National Identity, Nationalism, Regionalism, Scotland

Rights

CC BY-NC ND 4.0

Abstract

Scottish nationalism has always been part of the political debate in the United Kingdom since the birth of the Union in 1707. In the 1880s, inspired by Irish Home Rule, Scottish nationalists began to demand greater autonomy from London. To appease the nationalists, London began devolving small amounts of power to Scotland. However, this small amount of devolution was not enough for the Scots. In 1967, the Labour Government of Harold Wilson responded to the growth of Scottish nationalism by proposing more devolution. It would not be until 1999 under the Tony Blair Labour Government that Scotland would experience its greatest form of devolution with the creation of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood. The purpose of this thesis is to determine if post-1999 devolution has impacted Scottish national identity. In particular, it explores whether or not devolution has led to an increase in the number of individuals attributing themselves with a dual national identity. The rise in the number of individuals attributing themselves with a dual national identity is important because these individuals are less likely to support independence compared to those that identify solely as Scottish. To examine the impact of devolution on national identity, Scottish Social Attitude Surveys from ScotCen Social Research were used. This thesis also compared its results with findings from previous research on Scottish national identity in the pre-1999 devolution period, as well as with how individuals voted in the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. Finally, it predicts the outcome of a potential second referendum on Scottish independence.

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