The Scottish National Party: Transition to Power

The Scottish National Party: Transition to Power


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The Scottish National Party is a study of the SNP immediately after it came to power in May 2007. It is based on a survey of the entire membership and elite interviews with over 80 senior party figures. Discussion is located within the appropriate literatures and comparisons drawn with other British parties.

The image of the SNP as a youthful party, with a decentralized social-movement-type organization is challenged. The party is much older and much more male than had previously been thought and appears more like other conventional parties than its past image suggested. Its increased membership in recent years holds few clues as to how to re-engage youth, as even these recent joiners are predominantly older people, often former members returning to the party. The Scottish National Party questions the value of the civic-ethnic dichotomy in understanding nationalism. SNP members, it argues, acknowledge different ways —civic and ethnic, with the emphasis very much on civic—of defining who is Scottish. The picture emerges of a coherent left-of-centre party that accepts the pragmatism of its leadership. While independence remains the key motivation for joining and being active, a sizeable minority see the party as a means of furthering Scottish interests. The idea of independence is examined in elite interviews and found, again, to be understood more pragmatically than many commentators have suggested.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199580002
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 02/20/2012
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

James Mitchell is Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde. He has written extensively on Scottish politics, and his research interests cover territorial politics, the politics of nationalism, and political identities.

Lynn Bennie is Senior Lecturer in Politics in the School of Social Science at the University of Aberdeen.
Her research interests cover the areas of elections and political parties, environmental politics, and political participation.

Robert Johns is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Essex. He has published widely in the field of elections, public opinion and parties, notably as lead researcher on the Scottish Election Study in 2007. Jones has a particular interest in questionnaire design and survey methodology and has been involved in a number of major survey projects.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. From Blackmail to Governing Potential
3. From Amateur Activist to Electoral Professional Party
4. Who are the SNP Members?
5. Membership Motivations
6. Activism in the SNP
7. National Identity and Nationalism
8. Independence, Policies and Strategies
9. Conclusion

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