Written by a leading sociologist of Scotland, this ground-breaking new introduction is a comprehensive account of the social, political, economic and cultural processes at work in contemporary Scottish society. At a time of major uncertainty and transformation The New Sociology of Scotland explores every aspect of Scottish life. Placed firmly in the context of globalisation, the text: • examines a broad range of topics including race and ethnicity, social inequality, national identity, health, class, education, sport, media and culture, among many others. • looks at the ramifications of recent political events such as British General Election of 2015, the Scottish parliament election of May 2016, and the Brexit referendum of June 2016. • uses learning features such as further reading and discussion questions to stimulate students to engage critically with issues raised. Written in a lucid and accessible style, The New Sociology of Scotland is an indispensable guide for students of sociology and politics.
Chapter 6: Who Runs Scotland?
Who Runs Scotland?
In this chapter we examine ‘power’ in Scotland by focusing on business, land and politics. Why those? The ownership of companies, and that of land, are basic to understanding material wealth; and ‘politics’ is conventionally thought of as power and control over such wealth.
The study of ‘power’, however, is not straightforward. And why does studying power matter if we are trying to understand Scotland sociologically? As Jonathan Hearn pointed out, ‘power is not just one of the things that social scientists study, but the central thing’ (2012: 3). He continues: ‘What we normally encounter in social life, beginning with local social settings and all the way up to international relations, is a variegated multiplicity of centres of power, with ...