The narcissism of national solipsism: civic nationalism and sub-state formation processes in Scotland

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    Abstract

    This paper accounts for the lengthy emergence of sub-state nationalism in Scotland by locating it within British state formation processes. A spiral process of compromise and challenge characterises Scotland’s constantly evolving position within the United Kingdom. Despite the legalistic dilemmas that each challenge poses, the fissiparous process of sub-state remaking is rarely about ‘the constitution’ so much as shifts in the We–I balance expressed by deeply contested political and moral differences between formally equal but distinct partners of the ‘union state’. Relieved of direct responsibility for the organised violence of great power politics, and notwithstanding the formative role of Scots in managing the British empire, a charismatic Scottish we-ideal claims for itself the peaceful, humanist and egalitarian virtues of civic nationalism in contrast to the perfidious Machiavellianism at the heart of UK state power.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalHuman Figurations: Long-term Perspectives on the Human Condition
    Volume6
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

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    narcissism
    state formation
    nationalism
    Machiavellianism
    power politics
    great power
    compromise
    constitution
    violence
    responsibility

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    title = "The narcissism of national solipsism: civic nationalism and sub-state formation processes in Scotland",
    abstract = "This paper accounts for the lengthy emergence of sub-state nationalism in Scotland by locating it within British state formation processes. A spiral process of compromise and challenge characterises Scotland’s constantly evolving position within the United Kingdom. Despite the legalistic dilemmas that each challenge poses, the fissiparous process of sub-state remaking is rarely about ‘the constitution’ so much as shifts in the We–I balance expressed by deeply contested political and moral differences between formally equal but distinct partners of the ‘union state’. Relieved of direct responsibility for the organised violence of great power politics, and notwithstanding the formative role of Scots in managing the British empire, a charismatic Scottish we-ideal claims for itself the peaceful, humanist and egalitarian virtues of civic nationalism in contrast to the perfidious Machiavellianism at the heart of UK state power.",
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