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New Scotland, New Society?

Are Social and Political Ties Fragmenting?

Edited by John Curtice, David McCrone, Alison Park, Lindsay Paterson


New Scotland, New Society asks a series of vital questions regarding the attitudes and behaviour of the Scots. Are the ties that bind people to each other and to the democratic system fragmenting? Do people no longer trust each other? How do people relate to each other in terms of social trust? How do they relate to social institutions such as the family and systems of morality? Is constitutional reform restoring that trust? Drawing on the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey and its predecessors, the overall aim of the book is to provide an independent account of public opinion in post-devolution Scotland.

Chapters will cover a range of contemporary debates. Attitudes to key issues such as co-habitation, teenage pregnancy, religion, sexuality, abortion, and racial prejudice will be explored. The capacity of Scotland's new political institutions to restore trust will be questioned, and the links between the trust which people have in each other and the trust they have in their institutions will be tested. These attitudes will be set in context over time and also in comparison with the rest of the UK, to see how attitudes have developed, and whether Scottish attitudes are distinctive.

Much of the public debate in Scotland in recent years has been about constitutional and political change. This book moves beyond these issues to look at their social basis. It asks whether popular attitudes might actually be even more fundamental than the undoubtedly important constitutional upheaval that Scotland has recently experienced.

About the Author

John Curtice is a Professor of Politics and Director of the Social Statistics Laboratory at Strathclyde University, and Research Consultant to the Scottish Centre for Social Research. He is a regular commentator in the Scottish and British media. Publications include The Rise of New Labour, (with Heath, A. & Jowell, R.) (Oxford University Press, 2001) and New Scotland, New Politics? (with Paterson, L., Brown, A., Hinds, K., McCrone, D., Park, A., Sproston, K., & Surridge, P.) (Polygon, 2001).

David McCrone is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He co-founded the university’s Institute of Governance in 1999, and has written extensively on the sociology and politics of Scotland, and the comparative study of nationalism.

Alison Park is at the National Centre for Social Research, London. Co-author of The Rise of New Labour (Oxford University Press, 2001) and New Scotland, New Politics? (Polygon at Edinburgh, 2001).

Lindsay Paterson is Professor of Educational Policy at the University of Edinburgh. He has published widely on the expansion and purposes of higher education, on social mobility, on the relationship between education and civic values, on the twentieth-century history of Scottish education, and on Scottish politics. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.


Fascinating insights into Scottish attitudes … It will be particularly of interest to academics and politicians, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students in sociology and territorial politics.