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Sociology: Research


Nationalism and National Identity

Edinburgh is one of the world's leading centres for the development of theory about and the empirical study of 'national' identity. This involves the study of the negotiation, attribution and mobilisation of national identity and the complex ways they are related to each other.

Nationalism and national identity can be hotly debated issues. The Edinburgh group aims to produce impartial and evidence-based knowledge, which is publicly available but produced on its own terms.



In combination with our students and other researchers beyond Sociology we constitute the first 'regional' branch of the Asssociation for the Study of Ethnicity and NationalismFollow us on Twitter: @asenedinburgh



The study of nationalism and national identity has long been framed by debates about how ancient or recent these phenomena are, and whether they express enduring aspects of human nature, or historically contingent configurations of social life. Our research centres around the idea that nationalism and national identity are not fixed properties of social groups, but rather ways of making claims on and about the world: people lay claim to an array of identities, institutions and ideas in national ways. This perspective lets us get around intractable theoretical puzzles, and instead focus on how nationalism gets done: we examine empirically the complex and variable ways in which people lay claim to nations and national identities.


The Group has a close association with the University of Edinburgh's Masters Programme in National Studies and its members regularly contribute to our Nationalism Studies Blog. We run an occasional series of Working Papers in Nationalism Studies.


Much of our work in this area was carried out, until 2014, in conjunction with the Institute of Governance. See the Scottish Government Yearbook Archives, set up by the Institute in 2014, and maintained by Michael Rosie.


Recent Books

SEJonathan Hearn (2017),
Salvage Ethnography: The Path to Economic Crisis in Scotland.
Publisher's information here.






NSSDavid McCrone (2017),

The New Sociology of Scotland.
Publisher's information here.







Gëzim Krasniqi & Dejan Stjepanović (eds) (2016),
Uneven Citizenship: Minorities and Migrants in the Post-Yugoslav Space.

Publisher's information here.





Understanding National IdentityDavid McCrone & Frank Bechhofer (2015), Understanding National Identity.

Click here for further information.

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