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Political Discourse and National Identity in Scotland

Murray Stewart Leith, Daniel P. J. Soule

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Uses manifesto analysis to measure political nationalism in Scotland

Murray Leith and Daniel P. J. Soule explore the importance of groups, concepts and events such as the SNP and devolution, unionism, the political elite, political and public discourse, inclusion and exclusion, enforced nationalism, and birth, race and citizenship to nationalist feeling in Scotland. The authors set the Modernist view of Scottish nationalism against the work of Gellner, Anderson and Billig to create their own 'mixed method' of evaluating nationalism.

Key Features

  • Presents a detailed consideration of the language used within the political and nationalist arena in Scotland
  • Compares a variety of attitudes and opinions held within Scotland from the political elite to the masses
  • Introduces a new method for measuring political nationalism using manifesto analysis


List of Tables and Figures
1. Whose Nationalism is it Anyway?
2. The Politics of Contemporary Scottish Nationalism
3. The Changing Sense of Scotland: the Political Employment of National Identity
4. Nationalism’s Metaphor: the Discourse and Grammar of National Personification
5. Mass Perceptions of National Identity: Evidence from Survey Data
6. Narratives of Identity: Locating National Identity in the Public’s Discourse
7. The Scottish Political Elite View of National Identity
8. (Re)describing Scottish National Identity

About the Author

Murray Stewart Leith is a Lecturer in Politics at the University of the West of Scotland. He has published articles on national identity, nationalism and Scottish politics, examining the political and social changes wrought by devolution.

Daniel works as a freelance lecturer in Academic Writing through his company Business Grammatology. He was formerly a Lecturer in Academic Writing at the Graduate School at Glasgow Caledonian University. He has also taught at universities in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Norway and across Scotland.


A clear, precise, observant, politically nuanced analysis of the many different kinds of nationalism and national identity in Scotland, the ways they are expressed and the political behaviour to which they give rise. This book is a treat, and an education too.

- Murray Pittock, author of 'The Road to Independence?'

Leith and Soule’s work, given how solitary it is on the market, will prove most important in the next few years when it is assumed the campaign for an independent Scotland will accelerate.

- British Politics and Policy at LSE Blog

A very timely contribution to the deliberation of Scottishness, Scottish identity and Scottish nationalism in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

- Atsuko Ichijo, Kingston University, Nations and Nationalism 18 (4), 2012