Sectarianism, criminalisation and the civilising process in Scotland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

An absence of militant Protestantism led sociologists to argue that sectarianism has only ever been a negligible problem in Scotland, which, they confidently predicted decades ago, the process of advancing secularization would shortly kill off for good (Bruce et al, 2004; Rosie, 2004). Except that it didn’t. Public concern about ‘sectarianism’ did not fade away as predicted but instead became a major political and legal issue in Scotland, attracting polarized academic camps. Sectarianism’s afterlife requires further explanation beyond generalities about social and political change. Specifically, this chapter accounts for shifts in the balance of power between and within established and outsider groups in Scotland (Elias and Scotston, 1994). Understood in this way, heightened discourses and recent legislation to combat ‘sectarianism’ reflects a belated recognition of the more equal power balance between a formerly weak outsider group, Roman Catholics of Irish descent, and a no longer cohesive powerful majority group, Scottish Protestants.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrime, justice and society in Scotland
EditorsHazel Croall, Gerry Mooney, Mary Munro
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherRoutledge
Pages99-114
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781315795669
ISBN (Print)9780415750301
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Law, A. (2016). Sectarianism, criminalisation and the civilising process in Scotland. In H. Croall, G. Mooney, & M. Munro (Eds.), Crime, justice and society in Scotland (pp. 99-114). Abingdon: Routledge.