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Understanding National Identity


  • Date Published: March 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107496194

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About the Authors
  • We live in a world in which being a 'citizen' of a state and being a 'national' are by no means the same. Amidst much scholarly debate about 'nations' and 'nationalism', comparatively little has been written explicitly on 'national identity' and a great deal less is solidly evidence-based. This book focuses on national identity in England and Scotland. Using data collected over twenty years it asks: does national identity really matter to people? How does 'national identity' differ from 'nationality' and having a passport? Are there particular people and places which have ambiguous or contested national identities? What happens if someone makes a claim to a national identity? On what basis do others accept or reject the claim? Does national identity have much internal substance, or is it simply about defending group boundaries? How does national identity relate to politics and constitutional change?

    • Treats 'national identity' as a concept clearly distinct from 'nation' and 'nationalism'
    • Explores how national identity helps to differentiate 'state' from 'nation'
    • Critically engages with the view that 'identities' are self-contained and self-referential
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is clearly the best book ever written on national identity. The authors have worked together for a quarter of a century, and have become very sophisticated analysts, imaginatively using varied methodological tools with exemplary subtlety. The research goes deep, well beyond the daily headlines, and we meet real human beings and come to understand their concerns.' John A. Hall, James McGill Professor of Comparative Historical Sociology, McGill University, Montréal

    'National identity as opposed to the ideologically driven politics of nationalism or an apolitical patriotism is one of the more recent identity-politics themes. This fine book firmly puts it on the sociological map.' Tariq Modood, Director, University of Bristol Research Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107496194
    • length: 238 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • contains: 24 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Thinking about national identity
    2. Accessing national identity
    3. National identity: do people care about it?
    4. Debatable lands: national identities on the border
    5. Claiming national identity
    6. The politics of national identity
    7. The notional other: ethnicity and national identity
    8. A manner of speaking: the end of being British?
    9. Whither national identity?
    Appendix. National identity publications.

  • Authors

    David McCrone, University of Edinburgh
    David McCrone is Emeritus Professor of Sociology in the Institute of Governance at the University of Edinburgh and a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the British Academy. He has published Understanding Scotland: The Sociology of a Nation (1992 and 2001), The Sociology of Nationalism: Tomorrow's Ancestors (1998), National Days: Constructing and Mobilising National Identity (2009, with Gayle McPherson) and, most recently, The Crisis of Social Democracy in Europe (2013, edited with Michael Keating).

    Frank Bechhofer, University of Edinburgh
    Frank Bechhofer is Emeritus Professor of Social Research at the University of Edinburgh and Honorary Professorial Research Fellow in the Institute of Governance. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He is a co-author of The Affluent Worker (Cambridge University Press, 1968 and 1969), Principles of Research Design in the Social Sciences, (2000, with Lindsay Paterson) and The Petite Bourgeoisie: Comparative Studies of the Uneasy Stratum (1981, edited with Brian Elliott).

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