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Imagining the ‘Mongrel Nation': Political Uses of History in the Recent Scottish Nationalist Movement

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This article examines the political uses of three historically rooted myths in the recent Scottish nationalist movement: Scotland's civic nationhood, and the traditions of popular sovereignty/contractual government and freedom. The empirical focus is on the recent nationalist movement of the 1980s and 1990s. The article examines how political elites draw selectively on historical myths to support contemporary aims, and argues that in so doing they actively mould traditions and project a vision of the continuity of the nation which is essentially ahistorical. This analysis also critically engages with the dominant understanding of Scotland's civic nationhood.

Keywords: Elite Discourse; History; Myth; Nationalist Movement; Scottish Nationalism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2005

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