'We’ve never had it so good’: the ‘problem’ of the working class in devolved Scotland

Alex Law, Gerry Mooney

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    24 Citations (Scopus)
    141 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Class has become the social condition that dare not it speak its name in the devolved Scotland. This is despite the persistence of marked class divisions and structured inequalities within contemporary Scottish society. We critically examine the most empirically sophisticated and coherent analysis of social class in Scotland – that provided by ‘the Edinburgh school’ of social scientists, particularly their claim that Scotland is now a prosperous, ‘professional society’ where only a small but significant minority are trapped in poverty. This paper further considers the extent to which ‘devolution’, and the dominant representations to which it has given rise, serve to generate a series of other myths in which class is both devalued but simultaneously mobilized in the negative portrayal of some of the most disadvantaged sections of the working class. Against an emerging, home-grown view of ‘New Scotland’ as a prosperous ‘Smart, Successful Scotland’, poverty and wealth inequalities continue to be a necessary feature of the division of labour. In Scotland, as elsewhere, class remains the pivot-point around which much of social policy is encoded and enacted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)523-542
    Number of pages20
    JournalCritical Social Policy
    Volume26
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006

    Keywords

    • Scotland
    • Class
    • Professional society
    • Inequality

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