A clutch of nationalism-related seminars at the University of Edinburgh over the next few days …


1pm, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, 2 Hope Park Square.

Dr Luc Turgeon (University of Ottawa, IASH-SSPS Fellow): A Tale of Two Liberalisms? Attitudes toward Religious Minority Symbols in Quebec and the Rest of Canada.

[Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities Work in Progress talk]


3pm, Neil MacCormick Room, David Hume Tower.

Dr Balazs Majtenyi (Eotvos Lorand University): How the EU Becomes the Other: A Comparison of Hungarian Constitutional Crises and Brexit.

[Constitutional Law Discussion Group]


5pm, Room G16, William Robertson Wing, Medical School, Teviot Place.

Mark Jones (UCD): Killing under the Shadow of the Schießbefehl: Political and Cultural Mobilisation during the ‘March Uprising’ of 1919.                                                            

[Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict]


5.15pm, Room 2.13, Old Infirmary, 1 Drummond Street.

Professor Philip Goad (University of Melbourne. ESALA Geddes Visiting Fellow): Bauhaus Australia: modernism, migration and exile.

[Architectural History and Theory Seminar Series]


5.30pm, University of Edinburgh Chaplaincy.

Aaqil Ahmed (Head of Religion & Ethics and Commissioning Editor of Religion at the BBC): Fear mongering, Faith and the Responsibility of the Media.                         

[Alwaleed Centre / Scottish Inter-Faith Week]




2pm, Seminar Room, Chrystal Macmillan Building.

Malathi de Alwis; Trauma, Memory & Forgetting in Post-war Sri Lanka.

[School of Social and Political Science]



To join the IASH mailing list of seminars at the University of Edinburgh click on the link below and send the email, keeping the subject blank.


An interesting piece contrasting the ‘dark’ nationalism sweeping the west with more progressive and ‘civic’ nationalisms from one of Scotland’s leading social commentators.

Iain Macwhirter: “The far right is on the rise and its weapon is dark nationalism”


Liah Greenfeld

greenfeldLiah Greenfeld was born in Russia in 1954 and relocated to Israel with her parents in 1972. Upon the publication of Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity (Harvard University Press, 1992), she emerged as a preeminent authority on nationalism, a distinction reinforced by the publication of The Spirit of Capitalism: Nationalism and Economic Growth (Harvard University Press, 2001; Donald Kagan Best Book in European History Prize).

Unlike most modernists who assert that nationalism is a product of modernity, Greenfeld argues that rather modernity is a product of nationalism. She believes that nationalism is what prompted the transformation from old society to modern society. Greenfeld asserts that one of the defining characteristics of modernity is the division of territory into nations. This is a “realization of nationalist imagination”. (Greenfeld, 1992: 487).

According to Greenfeld, national identity is acquired when all citizens identify as members of a nation. This national identity blurs the lines of class and elevates everyone’s status. Everyone is considered equal. She also draws strong ties between nationalism and democracy as they are both defined by the existence of a sovereign people. In her view, the two are intertwined; “democracy was born with the sense of nationalism” (Greenfeld, 1992: 10). The two differentiated, however, when “the emphasis in the idea of a nation moved from the sovereign character to the uniqueness of the people, the original equivalence between it and democratic principles were lost” (Greenfeld, 1992: 10). One reason for this, as Greenfeld asserts, could be that democracy is “not exportable”.

Greenfeld states that England was the first nation. This was the first region in which the term “the people” moved beyond defining the elite and spread to encompass all citizens. The transformation in England was prompted by a number of factors, including the Protestant Reformation, when Henry VII broke away from Rome and the Catholic Church, and The English Bible, “and the unprecedented stimulation of literacy” (Greenfeld, 1992: 87). This growing national sentiment continued under the reign of Elizabeth, and by the mid 17th century, a nation had emerged.

Greenfeld has also done extensive research on the relationship between nationalism and the economy. The Spirit of Capitalism answers a fundamental question of economics, a question neither economists nor economic historians have been able to answer: what are the reasons (rather than just the conditions) for sustained economic growth? Taking her title from Max Weber’s famous study on the same subject, Liah Greenfeld focuses on the problem of motivation behind the epochal change in behavior, which from the sixteenth century on has reoriented one economy after another from subsistence to profit, transforming the nature of economic activity.

Greenfeld argues that the motivation, or “spirit,” behind the modern, growth-oriented economy was not the liberation of the “rational economic actor,” but rather nationalism. Nationalism committed masses of people to an endless race for national prestige and thus brought into being the phenomenon of economic competitiveness.

In Nationalism and the Mind, Greenfeld defines Anomie, which could be translated as “normalessness”, as a built-in feature of modernity, and could produce “a sense of disorientation, of uncertainty as to one’s place in society, and therefore as to one’s identity” (Greenfeld 2005, 332). Therefore she proposed that “Nationalism inhibits the formation and normal functioning of the human mind” (Greenfeld 2005, 333), because nationalism as a modern culture has a presupposition of fundamental equality of national membership, popular sovereignty and focuses on anomic culture, which cannot provide people with a clear sense of defined and stable self-identity, thus causing “socially paralyzing mental disorders” (Greenfeld 2005, 340).

Case Study


Greenfeld states that the EU is an instrumental union, and that member countries use it as a tool to promote its own national interest. The European states need to unite to compete effectively against strong market such as USA and China. Capitalistic blocs are not inevitable if nations can compete individually. For example, in 2005 the French and Dutch vetoed the ratification of the European Constitutional Treaty. Those two countries rejected the treaty because the plan indicated further European integration on the political field. There was a possibility to lose a degree of sovereignty. The European countries possess a strong sense of nationalism, which prompted them to veto the treaty.


  • Greenfeld emphasises the superficial nature of the division created by status and class. Do you think having a shared national identity blurs the line of status and class? Are national identities inherently stronger?
  • “The United States of the World, which will perhaps exist in the future, with sovereignty vested in the population, and the various segments of the latter regarded as equal, would be a nation in the strict sense of the word within the framework of nationalism” (Greenfeld 1992, p.7-8). Do you agree? Will “United States of the World” ever exist?
  • Is democracy exportable to other nations? Is it something that is inherent to certain nations but alien to others? Is nationalism a factor in this distinction?


This seminar is a joint presentation between Centre for Canadian Studies, and CNaM (Citizens, Nation and Migration Network)


Speaker        Luc Turgeon (University of Ottawa)

Date             Thursday 24th November

Time            1pm – 2.30pm

Location       Project Room, 50 George Square, Edinburgh

There will be a sandwich lunch at 12.30pm prior to the presentation.


Over the last decades, in both Europe and North America, debates have multiplied over the place of minority religious symbols in public spaces. A number of European studies have explored the sources of support for a ban on minority religious symbols. In this study, conducted with Antoine Bilodeau (Concordia University), Ailsa Henderson (University of Edinburgh) and Stephen White (Carleton University), we argue that to understand the sources of such support, it is essential to distinguish those who would ban minority religious symbols from those who would forbid all religious symbols, including those of the majority. While these two groups might share some similar motivations, their opposition to minority religious symbols might also be rooted in different impulses, and as such they might constitute “strange bedfellows”. Echoing European debates, we test this argument by drawing on a survey conducted in the province of Quebec in Canada. In 2013, the provincial government proposed a ban on the wearing of religious symbols, including the headscarf, by public employees. While the legislation would have banned the wearing of all religious symbols, public debates focused overwhelmingly on the wearing of headscarves by Muslim women. However, this debate coincided with another one on the removal of the crucifix from the province’s legislative body. As such, the Quebec case allows us to test the potentially distinct motivations of those who would ban only minority religious symbols and those who would ban all religious symbols.

To register following link http://whoozin.com/DEP-DDG-XPRA

Michael Mann in Spotlight


photoMichael Mann was born in 1942 in Manchester, UK to a lower-middle-class family. Mann attended a local grammar school and then went on to study BA modern history at the University of Oxford and then studied for his PhD in sociology at the same institution. Mann then went on to work on projects surrounding world history and historical sociology working in institutions such as the University of Essex, the London School of Economics (LSE) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Mann’s key works include The Sources of Social Power Vol I-V, Power and the 21st Century and The Dark Side of Democracy. Mann’s work is particularly distinctive in its middle ground approach, between theory and history. The result is a back and forth, continuing dialogue between historical research and theoretical hypothesis.


Mann describes the nation as a body which evolved out of states’ response to ever-growing industrialisation. As such, in Mann’s work, the state is considered fundamental to the creation of the nation. In chapter 3 of The Sources of Social Power Volume II, Mann reviews five theories of the modern state. Critical of the widely accepted three theories of the state, Mann modifies and breaks them down into (1) class, (2) pluralist, (3) true elitism, (4) institutional statism and (5) cock-up/foul-up theory.

Class theory – Mann argues that most class theories have been Marxist in nature, in their often reduction of states to purely economic power. This theory suggests that states are functional for modes of economic production/classes and that modern states have been determined by two phases of class struggle: feudal/capitalist bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie and proletariat. Class theory recognises that states are in some sense capitalist in that they service capital accumulation and class regulation. Mann notes that modern state personnel are the direct instrument of the capitalist class or they function structurally to reproduce capitalist relations of production. Fundamentally, the state is not an actor, but passive and a place where classes and class fractions organise.

Pluralist theory – Mann highlights that pluralist theory claims to only explain the formation of modern states. Pluralist theory is concerned with how contestation between parties and pressure groups, representing interests of groups in society, and the widening scope of participation by the people in this contestation, generates genuine democracy. For pluralists, a broadening party democracy is the defining crystallisation of modern Western states. Through party democracy, states ultimately represent the interests of individual citizens. Pluralist theory suggests that the state is the “factor of cohesion” in society

True Elitism theory – True elitists emphasise the distributive power of state elites over society. Thus, states are seen as rational actors, from which distributive power radiates outward from. True elitists are open to discussion of international relations and recognise that states inhabit a world of states and that states act geopolitically. States are a unitary power actors enjoying sovereignty over their territories, thus foreign policy is made by states “realistically” pursuing their own geopolitical interests against those of other states. This theory may usefully apply to authoritarian or dictatorial states. Like Pluralist theory and Class theory, True Elitism theory places an emphasis on a cohesive, systemic state.

Institutional Statism theory – Mann argues that institutional statism theory suggests that the state consists of complex organisational networks and that the emphasis should be placed upon collective power rather than distributive power. Mann states that this theory would differ from True Elitism theory in that it argues that all actors are constrained by existing political institutions, rather than the idea that state elites dominate civil society. Institutional Statism theory is based around the idea that states are essentially ways in which dynamic social relations become authoritatively institutionalised. States institutionalise present social conflicts, thus they go from being passive (as in class theory and pluralist theory) to the state not quite as an actor (true elitism theory) to active.

Cock-up/Foul-up theory – This theory, Mann argues, suggests that the state is not a conspiracy but “cock-up” or that the state is not functional but “foul-up.” This theory goes against most sociologists ideas of social life being patterned or ordered in that is suggests states are actually chaotic, sprawling and irrational, with multiple departmental autonomies, far removed from the cohesion suggested by the previous four theories. States are ridden by multiple disputes, some geopolitical, others domestic and entwining in unanticipated ways. This theory actually suggests that many of the things that happen during the decision making process are not in keeping with anyone’s intentions; they are simply mistakes.



In his book „The Sources of Social Power“, Mann describes the evolution of the nation-state as increasingly strengthening its sovereignty, its infrastructural powers and its powers of national mobilisation. He presents a four-phase theory of the nation: 1) the religious phase, 2) the capitalist-statist phase, 3) the militarist phase, and 4) the industrial capitalist phase. The religious and capitalist-statist phases contributed to creating ‘protonations’ while the military phase and industrial capitalist phase allowed for three different types of nations to develop – state reinforcing (England), state creating (Germany) and state subverting (Austrian lands).

The class conflicts created by capitalism in relation to local circumstances fuelled the creation of all three types of nations. The middle class, peasants and workers become literate in native vernaculars and naturalised or fragmented the existing state into nations, while also increasingly demanding political representation. The two dominant political issues in the 19th century were representation (who should be full citizens) and the ‘national’ issue (how centralised the state and nation should be). The military and later the industrial capital phases of state expansion intensified both issues. In particular state subverting nationalism became increasingly violent especially if reinforced by religion, while state reinforcing nationalism centred on interstate wars. Mann argues that aggressive nationalism did not spread deeply amongst most of the middle class it did include a large military administration comprised of young men disciplined into a modern army. Alongside the large civilian administration also dependent on the state for their livelihood they formed the core of people loyal to the ideals of their state.

The fourth phase in the theory of the nation – industrial capitalism – also saw increasing pressure towards creating a more representative and national state. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries states began to undertake major civilian functions including communication systems (post offices, railways, roads) and schools. States responded to the needs of capitalism articulated by capitalists, elites, and militaries, all of which valued greater social coordination. These state activities furthered the linking of the intensive and emotional organisation of the family and neighbourhood with the instrumental power of the state organisations. In this fourth phase the population of the state had become naturalised – an extensive community of interaction emotional attachment. Citizens from the upper and middle classes were drawn towards nationalist organisations, disproportionately from a core group of civilian and military employees. During the 20th century the functions of the state increased into overlapping and intersecting power networks.


In the Dark Side of Democracy, Michael Mann attempts to explain why the 20th Century was witness to large scale ethnic violence.  Mann goes on to say that, “Murderous cleansing is modern because  it is the dark side of democracy (Mann, 2005, p.2). The problem, according to Mann, is that nationalism has become politicized through the spread of democratic aspirations within nation states. This has happened because the “demos” and the “ethnos” have become intertwined. So when people speak of “rule by the people”, they mean a dominant ethnic group, as opposed to a diverse group of citizens. This means that the democracy is run through the rule of the majority, where ethnic unity is an important component. Democracy, therefore, is structured around ethnic and nationalist principles.

When it comes to the definition of Ethnicity, Mann rejects biological definitions of the term.  He brings up Scots, Germans and Serbs as example of ethnic groups that have mixed with other ethnic groups, that trying to use a biological definition is insufficient. Ethnicity,  Mann claims, are formed by social relations and that they are created in many different ways. Ultimately, he defines “ethnicity” as a  group of people that share a common descent or culture (Mann, 2005, p.11.).  “Ethnic cleansing” is the “removal by members of one such group of another such group from a locality they define as their own” (Mann, 2005, p.11) . Mann also defines the nation as an ethnic group that possess a political conscientious and claiming political rights within a certain territory, and a nation-state is when the nation gains political sovereignty (Mann, 2005, p.11). Mann approaches ethnic cleansing through the interaction of different power networks that occur within a nation-state.

The four different networks of power identified as a necessary to the accomplishment of ethnic cleansing are: ideological power, economic power, military power and political power (Mann, 2005, p.30-32).  Ideology, a set of values, norms and rituals, is carried by various communication networks within the state. They used to mobilize mass marches, rallies and raise awareness to relevant issues.  They generally compete with other opposing ideologies, and people pick ones that make the most sense in their set of circumstances.

Economic Power is important because cleanings involve some sort of material interest. . Ideas of class are often transferred into ethnic identities. One ethnic group can see itself as being oppressed and exploited, while the oppressor sees itself as defending civilization. This also affects groups that occupy economic niches as they often face discrimination from the dominant ethnic group. The best example of this is European Jews who were often discriminated against, but occupied vital posts in the economy. Economic power also manifests itself as looting during cleansing campaigns as the perpetrators will take valuables from their victims.

Military Power refers to organized and lethal concentrated violence. Cleansings become an attractive option because they cost little in manpower and material terms.  They are also effective against a mobile enemy that prefers to fight in a guerilla-style or during long-term sieges.  Political power references to a centralized and territorial regulation of life. Mann theorizes that this is the source of most cleanings. Rival groups claiming primacy of the state is where most civil wars begin and these wars can easily stray into the realm of ethnic cleansing.



Mann Presents 8 theses that serve as explanations for why Ethnic Cleansings occur:

  1. Ethnic Cleansings are modern because they are the darkside of democracy.
  2. Ethnic Hostility rises where ethnicity trumps class as the main form of social stratification
  3. The danger zone of murderous cleansing is reached when a.)movements claiming to represent two fairly old ethnic groups both lay claim to their own state over all or part of the same territory and b.) this claim seems to them to have substantial legitimacy and some plausible chance of being implemented.
  4. The brink of murderous cleansing is reached when one of the two alternative scenarios plays out. 4(a) The less powerful side is bolstered  to fight rather than submit by believing that aid will come from the outside. 4(b) states that the stronger side believes it has such overwhelming military power and ideological legitimacy that it can force through its own cleansed state.
  5. Going over the brink in the perpetration of murderous cleansing occurs where the state has exercised sovereignty over the contested territory has been factionalized and radicalized amid unstable geopolitical environment
  6. Murderous cleansing is rarely the initial intent of perpetrators
  7. There are 3 levels of perpetrators: a.) radical elites running party-states b.)bands of militants forming violent paramilitaries and c.) core constituencies providing mass though not popular support.
  8. Ordinary people are brought by normal social structures into committing murderous ethnic cleansing. (Mann, 2005, p.2-9)


Mann reviews several case studies of ethnic cleansing touching briefly on new world cleansings before moving to the numerous examples of mass cleansing that the 20th century has offered.  He views them all from his model of power structures and uses his theses to explain how these horrific events were allowed to happen and the motivations of the perpetrators.



  1. Is there really, as by Mann described, a need of ethnic homogenisation in building democracies, are ethnic conflicts a necessity in democratisation? Mann writes, that the institutional representation of minorities can limit such conflicts in a stabile states, how could institutions look like to prevent conflicts and can modern day media be of help in this process? Or can it be equally dangerous as anger about misrepresentation can be canalised and expressed easily and widespread and lead to violent actions?
  2. Is the distinctions between the different forms of power in a state really possible as Mann describes it and are these powers not very much intertwined? Does Michael Mann focus too much on categorised institutionalised forms of power?
  3. Is Mann’s idea of nationalism too state focused, should there be other actors taken into account, such as international corporations? Which other actors could be interesting? Which other motivations are important for humans apart from pure power over others?

The UN treaty defining Genocide:


Examples: Ethnic conflicts and cleansings:

Genocide in Australia:

The number of the Aboriginal population in Australia dropped from estimated 750 000 when the first British settlers arrived (1788) to estimated 31 000 during the next 150 years.

The Genocide might have been not intended as such, but resulted from conflicts for resources but was based on the assumption, that:

Aboriginals are hardly human;

The Aboriginal population was seen as useless, unable to work and live like the new settlers;

They were not protected against diseases;

They were excluded from legal rights;

In the fight for land Aboriginals were murdered by white settlers which hardly had to fear any consequences.

The results of this genocide are still visible:

The estimated lifespan of the Aboriginal population is still lower than the lifespan of other population groups, often accompanied by lower social mobility

Further literature:

The Holocaust, the Aborigines, and the bureaucracy of destruction: an Australian dimension of genocide. Bartrop, Paul Robert In: Journal of Genocide Research 3,1 (2001) 75-87





Benedict Anderson was born in China in 1936 to and English mother and an Irish father in Imperial Customs Service. Having lived briefly in China and Ireland, in 1941, the family moved to the United States. Then, Anderson was educated in both the United States and England graduating from the University of Cambridge in 1957 and later receiving a Ph.D. from Cornell University[1].  With his academic focus on Southeast Asia, Anderson lived at the center of key tensions in nationalism discourse: East vs West, European vs American, imperial vs anti-colonial. In his research, Anderson addresses these tensions by looking at the process of nationalism and within what boundaries the nation exists.

Anderson’s magnum opus, Imagined Communities, understands nations as sociopolitical constructs which emerged in the 18th century as previously established religious communities and dynastic realms began to retreat. Thus, the nation serves as an alternative mean through which to explain human suffering or martyrdom[2]. After explaining why nations arose in modernity, he goes on define a nation as an imagined community which is both limited and sovereign.

1) it is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members…

2) … limited because even the largest of them…has finite, if elastic boundaries, beyond which lie other nations

3) … sovereign because the concept was born in an age which Enlightenment and Revolution were destroying the legitimacy of the divinely-ordained

4) … a community because… the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship[3].

Nations, as Anderson notes in his definition, evolve in the age of Enlightenment and Revolution. Nations are intrinsically tied to print-capitalism. Anderson considers literature and newspapers as cultural products which play an important role in giving “a hypnotic confirmation of the solidity of a single community”. Even though the act of reading them is conduct privately, each member of the community knows that “the ceremony he performs” is being replicated by others “of whose existence he is confident, yet of whose identity he has not the slightest notion”[4]. This action gives a feeling of cohesion within a greater narrative constructed by the dominant institutionalized discourse.

For example, a large portion of Anderson’s book focused on what he called “creole nationalism” in the Americas and the processes which follow. In the Americas, unique communities which could identify neither with the pure-Europeans nor the natives began to seek autonomy having used community-specific newspapers to foster their imagined communities. As a process, the spread of nations was, thus, in Anderson’s own words: a “spontaneous distillation of a complex crossing of discrete historical forces.[5]”

As 21st century technology increases the ability, as newspapers once did, to foster a nation, consider an imagined community in practice: nearly three decades of conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) caused an exodus of a large proportion of the Tamil population, who are now found scattered across the globe. Today, Tamils have acquired citizenship and formed diasporic communities outside of Sri Lanka. During conflicts, researchers have found that the some Tamils outside Sri Lanka support the LTTE’s nationalist movements by sending money and equipment or spreading awareness. While not necessarily having experienced direct oppression from the Sri Lankan government nor necessarily supporting the militant Tigers, Tamils from India to South Africa to the UK and beyond form a broad diaspora group which imagines itself as part of one united nation[6].

See: https://research.aston.ac.uk/portal/files/17446420/Diaspora_identification_and_long_distance_nationalism.pdf 

1) How do Anderson’s views differ from previous theorists? What does he say about imagination which differs from ideas of invention or fabrication?

2) If nationalism is the product of the rise of vernaculars brought by print-capitalism, does it means that the nation is such kind of group whose members shared the similar culture or reading material? If so, how to foster the strong sacrifice spirit by those cultural products? How might these same cultural products divide nations?

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Academy of Government/Nordic Horizons

Saturday 29 October 2016 – 12-5.30 pm

George Square Theatre, Edinburgh.

Brexit – Lessons that might be learned from the nordics – with six speakers from different Nordic countries.

Chaired by Lesley Riddoch

The Nordics manage to co-exist quite happily with every possible variation of relationship with the EU – in (Finland, Sweden, Denmark) out (Iceland and Norway) and shake it all about (Faroes and Greenland who are out while the “Mother Ship” Denmark is in). These two tiny Nordic players have no formal agreement with the EU, whilst Norway pays quite a bit to retain access to the single market. So quite a bit of variation.

Surely in all of this there are lessons for Scotland to learn – as a devolved government within the UK or possibly a small northern independent state sometime in the future.

So we’ve brought an interesting collection of speakers together for an afternoon conference which will be opened by the Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop;

Professor Mary Hilson – author of The Nordic Model, excellent Nordic Horizons speaker and now historian in the Dept of Culture and Society at Aarhus University Denmark will give a contemporary an historical overview of the Nordic nations and the EU.

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson – ex leader of Iceland’s Social Democratic Party and former Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs was responsible for their negotiations to join the EEA in the 1990’s. He will reflect on both EFTA in 1970’s and EEA – how Iceland achieved exemptions on fishing/agriculture – the pros/cons of that – and Iceland’s temporary post-crash desire to be in the Euro BUT not the EU.

Tuomas Iso-Markku, Research Fellow, at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. Will reflect on why Finland appears to have a different relationship with the EU than many of its Nordic neighbours.

An important point is security – Russia next door — and the dangers to being a vocal small member.

Ulrik Pram Gad is Associate Professor of Arctic Culture and Politics at University of Aalborg, Denmark and recently published a paper on the triangular relation between Greenland, Denmark and the EU (quoted by Nicola Sturgeon). From 1998 to 2002 he worked for the Government of Greenland in Nuuk. Will discuss whether Scotland could do “a reverse Greenland’.

Dr. Duncan Halley, Scots born but now at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research – will discuss the advantages for Norway of controlling its land use, fisheries, and conservation outside the EU and will speculate on similar advantages for Scotland. Duncan gave a brilliant Nordic Horizons talk comparing land use and forestry in the Scottish Highlands and SW Norway in 2015.

Bjort Samuelsen – is a Republican MP in the Faroese Parliament, Member of the West Nordic Council and was Minister for Trade and Industry, Infrastructure and Gender Equality in 2008. She was originally a journalist and worked for Norwegian and Faroe Islands Broadcasting. Bjort will explain why the Faroes decided not to join the EU with Denmark in the 1970s and discuss how easy it has been outside all trade blocs as a nation of just 49k people.

After these speakers we will have a final session asking if anything we’ve heard has relevance for Scotland. Amongst the contributors in that final session will be; the Chair of the Scottish Parliament’s Europe & External Affairs Committee Joan McAlpine, Professors Andrew Scott and James Mitchell from University of Edinburgh, the author of A Utopia Like any Other, Dominic Hinde and hopefully Labour MEP Catherine Stihler.

The event has been organized by Nordic Horizons volunteers together with Edinburgh University’s Academy of Government and speakers’ costs have been met by a Scottish Government grant. We are charging for the first time to help pay for tea and coffee on the day and help us cover the cost of meals for speakers. So it’s a mighty £3!


Please book tickets via this Eventbrite link.