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.

National Identity: Who do we Think we are?

National Identity: Who do we Think we are?

To say that Scots have a strong sense of their national identity would seem to be stating the obvious. After all, the national flag, the Saltire (Figure 18.1), is ubiquitous, not only flying on public buildings, but also used as a commercial icon to sell everything from sausages to scaffolding, as well as in people’s backyards. It would seem obvious to say that it is a political symbol, highly prominent during the Scottish Independence Referendum in September 2014.

Figure 18.1 Flying the flag

Source: Author’s photograph

This association of flags with national identity, and in turn with political parties, would seem commonplace. So powerful is the symbol of a flag that, ...

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