Archive for June, 2014

Through the radical and rapid shifts in how Scotland is governed (and how, indeed, it governs itself), the Scots have barely raised their voices, let alone thrown punches and smashed windows. Perhaps what is most remarkable about the upcoming referendum is how normal it feels. ‘Independence’ was, in the 1970s, something rather exotic. Yet here we are, with a White Paper, and a Red Paper, and the ‘guarantee’ of substantial new powers if we vote ‘No’, and of a new – but unthreatening – dawn if we vote ‘Yes’. Independence is one possible future, one to be discussed, debated, weighed and judged soberly and democratically. It feels less a matter of ‘freedom’, or of the destruction of a hallowed unity, than of how to find the best fitting governing mechanism to meet Scotland’s aspirations.

In making sense of the referendum Scottish Affairs has produced a Special Issue intended to make an accessible contribution to the debate. The Issue has two main parts. In the first part, John Curtice – key contributor to What Scotland Thinks – describes the difficult tasks of polling companies in predicting public opinion whilst satisfying the ‘relentless’ demands ‘from an impoverished media for polls to be conducted as cheaply as possible’. Lindsay Paterson then unpacks a broad historical view of Scottish political culture and its paradoxical foundation upon an insistence on a universal humanity. ‘Perhaps more than any other small nation,’ Paterson avers, Scotland has ‘the inclination to universalism inescapably at the heart of its identity’. Frank Bechhofer and David McCrone then provide a welcome antidote to casual assumptions about national identity and constitutional politics. Unionism and nationalism, they remind us, ‘are intertwined and not polar opposites’ and ‘one cannot read off constitutional aspirations from how people construe [national] identities’.

The following four articles then address specific aspects of the referendum: Meryl Kenny explores how the ‘engendering’ of the new Scotland after 1999 has proved, in many ways, a disappointment. She warns that ‘Women’s issues are constitutional issues’ and that ‘gender reforms can easily slip off the political agenda’. Michael Rosie then tackles some ‘tall tales’ about religion, not least against a deeply secularised background. Evidence suggests that religious belonging plays little, if any, role in shaping constitutional opinion. Jan Eichhorn presents results from the first comprehensive and representative survey of those Scots, aged 14–17 in 2013 and who will be eligible to vote in the Referendum. The survey punctures several myths, not least about voting intention, attitude formation and interest in politics. Eichhorn also cautions that, regardless of the result in September, Scotland must ‘think about how to better harness the interest of young people in politics’. Here the essay by Ellen Stewart, Iain Wilson, Peter Donnelly and Scott Greer makes an important contribution since it focuses upon the experience of young (potential) voters in the pilot Scottish health board elections of 2010.

The first section is rounded off by Daniel Kenealy’s discussion of the vexed ‘European Question’. Kenealy concludes that a ‘Yes’ vote would put ‘tremendous pressure on all EU Member States to avoid a sudden and sharp dislocation to the single market’. That pressure will lead to negotiation: statements which call into question Scotland’s post-independence membership of the EU ‘have utterly failed to engage with the deeply impractical scenario’ of a Scotland even temporarily out of that Union.

The second part of the Special Issue consists of four essays on the theme of Scotland seen from (near or) afar. Euan Hague and Alan Mackie note how little discussion the Referendum has excited in US media, but also describe how different viewpoints mould the ‘meaning’ of the Referendum to their own purposes. Within the
Diaspora there seems to be a significant disjuncture between the ‘historical narrative’ preferred by some ancestral Scots (a narrative that parallels America’s own founding myths) and the social democratic claims of the SNP. Ilenia Ruggiu reports a broadly similar reshaping of the Referendum in several Italian regions. Here, in places such as Sud-Tirol, Sardinia or Veneto it is the fact of Scotland’s referendum, rather than its detail, that provides inspiration for groups seeking greater autonomy within, or outright secession from, the Italian state. Keith Dixon describes the lack of a clear French understanding of what the United Kingdom actually is and, therefore, on the politics of territory within it. That, more recently, has shifted and Dixon describes a ‘relatively well-informed and even-handed presentation of the referendum debate in the French press’. Closer to home, Keith Shaw, outlines different reactions to the prospect of a more autonomous Scotland of whatever form) in the North East of England and in Cumbria. These reactions span anxiety, envy, regret and hope – all reflective of the common bonds shared in the Borderlands on both sides of the Tweed-Solway.

In the first ever editorial of Scottish Affairs, back in 1992, Lindsay Paterson insisted that, should Scotland’s movement for self-government prove successful, ‘then the form of that autonomy, and the strategy needed to reach it, must be subject to much stricter scrutiny than has been available hitherto’. Scottish Affairs has contributed to that scrutiny both during the campaign for self-government, and across the subsequent life of the Scottish Parliament. Whatever the result in September, there will be continued – indeed in many ways more pressing – need for scrutiny of policy and politics through well evidenced and accessible research. Scottish Affairs relishes that challenge.

The full table of contents for the Special Issue (and access for subscribers) can be found at the Edinburgh University Press website.

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Dr Glassford will present a paper, followed by discussion, on:

George Orwell’s Shallow Nationalism

There has always been as many ‘Orwell’s’ as there are commentators on his thought. Orwell has been claimed as a hero of the anti-Stalinist left, an opponent of all totalitarianisms, as a staunch critic of capitalism, acute analyst of art-prop, as a peculiar proponent of English common sense socialism, of libertarian self-reliance, and there are even some who view Orwell as a hero of neo-conservatism; a defender of Western pluralism and toleration. In this paper I will eschew theories of nationalism and re-examine Orwell’s search for a political and cultural identity that was central to his sense of what he was against in texts such as The Lion and the Unicorn, and Down and Out in London and Paris, and I will attempt to demonstrate that Orwell never really successfully re- imagined a persuasive sense of Englishness.

Time: 4 July, 1:00-2:30

CMB, Meeting Room (Pod) 5

Hosted by: the Nationalism and National Identity (NANI) research group and Ethnicity, Nationalism and National Identity Network (ENNIN)

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Interesting article by James Meek in the current edition of the London Review of Books, which explores the dilemmas of belonging, in part, in the context of the referendum on Scottish independence:



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As the Scottish independence referendum approaches, economic questions have come to dominate the public debate on Scotland’s future. Would a new border affect Scotland’s trade with the rest of the UK and, if so, by how much?

What new economic policies could an independent Scotland pursue? And how would independence affect Scotland’s per-capita income and prospects for economic growth?

The School of Economics at the University of Edinburgh, together with the Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE), is pleased to announce that it will host a public panel discussion on the economics of new borders.

The aim of the event is to showcase what methods economists use to evaluate the possible costs and benefits of independence, discuss the experience of other countries and explore the implications for Scotland.

The Panellists

James E. Anderson is a Professor of Economics at Boston College. He is a research associate at the distinguished National Bureau of Economic Research, and serves on the editorial board of the Review of International Economics. Among other topics, his research explores the relationship between trade within and across country borders.

Enrico Spolaore is a Professor of Economics at Tufts University. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and editor of a forthcoming book on Culture and Economic Growth. Among other topics, his research explores the economic determinants of country size.

Stephen Farrington is Deputy Director of the Economics Group at HM Treasury, and responsible for the Treasury’s analytical work on the Scotland independence debate. Previously, he served as the head of the economy forecast team at the Office of Budget Responsibility.

The panel will be chaired by Robert Zymek (School of Economics, University of Edinburgh)

Please note participation is free but registration is required due to venue capacity. To book a space, register online at http://tinyurl.com/ohao3zz


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Workshop-giornata di studio.

Venerdì 19/12/2014

Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche dell’Università “Aldo Moro”


•Prima circolare•



Da tempo in molti paesi europei sono attivi movimenti politici indipendentisti o fortemente autonomisti. A dispetto di una spiccata vivacità, essi hanno rappresentato per lunghi periodi posizioni perlopiù minoritarie. Negli ultimi anni, però, la loro capacità di rappresentanza elettorale, nei e dei loro vari territori, è diventata via via più significativa. Di pari passo è cresciuta la loro incidenza sui teatri nazionali e sovranazionali e con essa anche l’ombra proiettata dalla più recente vicenda dei Balcani o dalle dinamiche secessioniste che hanno segnato e segnano i processi di transizione di tanti paesi dell’Est europeo.


Rispetto all’evoluzione di questi processi, il 2014 appare un anno cruciale. In alcuni stati europei la domanda indipendentista si è fatta più concreta: la Scozia sarà chiamata a settembre a misurarsi con la celebrazione di un Referendum, mentre in Spagna la convocazione di una Consulta sull’autodeterminazione in Catalogna ha attivato una crisi costituzionale e altrove si ravvivano ulteriori rivendicazioni sovraniste. Il tutto in un panorama politico divenuto, con l’ultima tornata elettorale europea e sotto l’urto di una perdurante crisi sociale, ancor più complesso e problematico.


Col tempo, una più matura e adeguata riflessione potrà scavare in maniera approfondita nel nuovo scenario europeo. Alcuni dati però balzano all’occhio dell’osservatore. In alcuni dei maggiori paesi europei – si pensi alla Francia, al Regno Unito e in misura minore all’Italia – si è assistito a una innegabile affermazione di forze dichiaratamente anti-europeiste, in alcuni casi stato-nazionaliste, in altri marcatamente regionaliste e localiste, dalla forte deriva xenofoba e populista. Allo stesso tempo si è assistito all’emergere di un europeismo critico dalle varie anime: una più squisitamente orientata a sinistra, altre più proprie di movimenti e partiti indipendentisti di centro-sinistra (si pensi allo Scottish National Party o a Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya). Tale processo si presenta nelle forme assai poco limpide di un dibattito politico e culturale, sui limiti e sul futuro dell’Unione Europea, improntato alla totale difesa del principio di stato-nazione e poco propenso a considerare regionalismi e nazionalismi periferici come elementi imprescindibili del processo di ridefinizione dello spazio politico europeo.


L’analisi di tali questioni è stata finora condotta prevalentemente reificando la natura degli stati e delle nazioni – periferiche e ufficiali che siano – all’interno di quello che è stato definito come una forma di “nazionalismo metodologico”. Minore considerazione è stata finora portata alla loro natura di prodotto storico, alla velocità e alla profondità con cui il nuovo quadro europeo sta ridefinendo politica e istituzioni, trasformando le vecchie forme dello stato-nazione. Di qui la permanenza anche di sterili contrapposizioni che continuano a far velo a una più matura comprensione dei nuovi scenari. Nel nostro seminario l’intento è quello di confrontarci  con gli scenari e le dinamiche che i processi in corso stanno aprendo, a partire dalle varie specificità disciplinari e geografiche che tali processi comportano e dalla loro interazione e comparazione.


Ormai non si può non provare a dar prime, sia pure parziali, risposte ad alcune questioni ineludibili, ad alcuni interrogativi brucianti. Insieme ad alcuni temi centrali del dibattito su indipendentismi e nazionalismi periferici: qual è la loro natura; quali le condizioni del loro successo; che rapporto intercorre tra essi e i nazionalismi di stato; quale rapporto vi è tra le domande “nazionali” e le questioni squisitamente territoriali. Altre domande ora si addensano sulla costruzione dell’Unione Europea: quale spazio e quali possibilità hanno questi processi nell’Unione Europea; quali dinamiche istituzionali sovranazionali si attivano nella gestione dell’eventuale separazione rispetto allo stato nazionale o nel tenere a battesimo la nascita di nuovi stati; che spazio hanno i processi di ampliamento e di riduzione interni all’Unione. Finora l’Unione Europea ha irradiato legittimazione accogliendo paesi provenienti da secessioni intervenute in altre realtà. Sarebbe ancora così virtuoso il processo nel caso di separazioni e divisioni che intervengono nella stessa Unione Europea, nelle sue attuali componenti statali? Quali i problemi, ad esempio, delle nuove cittadinanze rispetto al doppio codice della cittadinanza europea e alla revoca delle vecchie appartenenze, dei vecchi legami, ecc?


Su questi temi il Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche ed il Dipartimento FLESS dell’Università “Aldo Moro” di Bari, in collaborazione con la rivista “Nazioni e Regioni” (www.nazionieregioni.it)  ed Europe Direct Puglia (http://www.bcr.puglia.it/pem/europedirect.htm) , invitano a confrontarsi i relatori e coloro che vogliano presentare comunicazioni.


Gli abstract, di non più di 150 parole, andranno inviati entro il 30/07/2014. Entro il 30/11/2014 andrà inviato un abstract esteso di 2/3 pagine degli interventi selezionati e entro il 28/02/2014 andrà inviato l’intervento da pubblicare negli atti dell’incontro, per collana editoriale “Studi e ricerche sulla comunità immaginata – I libri di Nazioni e Regioni”. Tutti i materiali vanno inviati in formato word alla redazione di “Nazioni e Regioni”: nazionieregioni@gmail.com


Programma provvisorio


Introduce e coordina Daniele Petrosino (Università “Aldo Moro” – Bari) relazioni di  Xosé Manoel Núñez Seixas (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), AlessandroTorre (Università “Aldo Moro” – Bari), Michel Huysseune (Vesalius College – Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Stefano Bianchini (Università di Bologna), Ennio Triggiani (Università “Aldo Moro” – Bari)


14:30-17:30 Presentazione degli interventi e loro discussione.

Coordina Andrea Geniola (CEFID-Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

17:30-18 Conclusioni a cura di Isidoro Davide Mortellaro (Università “Aldo Moro” – Bari)


Segreteria scientifica: Andrea Geniola, Isidoro Davide Mortellaro, Daniele Petrosino.


Info e contatti: daniele.petrosino@uniba.it

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Speaker: Rey Koslowski, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy
Title: The American way of border control and immigration reform politics
Date: Monday 16 June, 1-2pm
Venue: 7 George Square – S37
Chaired by Prof. Christina Boswell

We look forward to seeing you there.

Alistair Hunter | Sophia Woodman
Coordinators, Migration & Citizenship RG

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The Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change would like to invite you to the ‘Seminar on Borders’ on Wednesday 25th June, 2014 at the ESRC Future of the UK & Scotland Hub.

The seminar is part of the Centre’s programme of work on the implications of Scottish independence or other constitutional changes. The topic is the effect of the border in an independent or more devolved Scotland. The format is that speakers will open the debate on each topic with a short introduction, followed by discussion. The seminar will be organized on Chatham House terms. We will publish an anonymized report of the points raised on our web site. Speakers will also post a short version of their introductory remarks.

For more information about the event including the programme, please click here.

For registrations please email: Dani Cetra, Research Fellow, Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change, d.cetra@ed.ac.uk

Please kindly note that there is limited availability.

Event’s details:

Date: 25/06/2014
Duration: 09.30am – 17.15pm
Venue: 3rd Floor, St John’s Land, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ

About the Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change

The Scottish referendum of 2014 presents a unique opportunity to examine the process of constitutional change and its impact on institutions, relationships, behaviour and the policy process. This major interdisciplinary project examines the options for, and implications of, constitutional change in Scotland. It is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of a programme of investments into the Future of the UK and Scotland.

Beginning in October 2013, this 2-year project contributes to the evidence base for the 2014 referendum, and the implications of the result. In the longer term, it will build a multi-institutional research centre which creates capacity for interdisciplinary work on the social, economic and political challenges facing Scotland, irrespective of the outcome of the referendum.

The overall project director is Professor Michael Keating (Aberdeen and Edinburgh), and associate director is Dr Nicola McEwen (University of Edinburgh).

For more information please click here.

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As part of next week’s SGSSS Summer School, which will take place (mainly) in CMB, we would like to invite you all to our Tuesday night talk and discussion:

David Torrance
Writer, journalist, broadcaster http://davidtorrance.com
Questions of Society in the Independence Debate – a short talk followed by a lively discussion about the social issues that lie at the heart of the debate on Scottish independence.

Venue: 7 Bristo Square, Lecture Theatre 1
Tuesday 17 June, 18.00-19.30
Limited seating (100 capacity) and no ticketing – first come, first served!

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Event title:          The BJP’s Landslide – A Seismic Change or More of the Same? A detailed analysis of the prospects for business and investors in the new environment.
Speaker:              Vikram Singh Mehta, Executive Chairman, Brookings India
Date/time:          Friday 20th June at 6.30pm (coffee from 6pm)
Venue:                 Business School, 29 Buccleuch Place EH8 9JS
Registration:      http://www.business-school.ed.ac.uk/about/events/5395cbd426382cf906a99974/vikram-singh-mehta:-the-bjp’s-
Outline:                This is a joint event with Asia Scotland Institute. We are delighted to welcome Vikram Singh Mehta, Executive Chairman of Brookings India and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Mr Mehta’s visit is timely, coming just a few weeks after India’s history parliamentary election which saw the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) score an absolute majority for the first time.  India’s new prime minster, Narendra Modi, has vowed to accelerate economic growth and promised Indians that “good times are coming”.  Mr Mehta is a former Chairman of the Shell Group of Companies in India. He received Asia House’s Businessmen of the Year award in 2010. He writes regular columns in the Indian Express and the Financial Express. A networking reception will follow his talk.

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