Sport for Yes? The role of sporting issues in pro-independence political discourse during the Scottish independence referendum campaign

Stuart Whigham, Anthony May

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Abstract

This article critically considers the extent to which sporting issues were harnessed by pro-independence political campaigners during the Scottish independence referendum campaign. Developments such as the inclusion of sport within the Scottish Government’s White Paper on Scottish independence, the establishment of the ‘Working Group on Scottish Sport’ and the establishment of the ‘Sport for Yes’ campaign group demonstrate the harnessing of sporting issues as an additional, if somewhat peripheral, debate point in the referendum campaigns . The latter of these developments, the establishment of the ‘Sport for Yes’ campaign group, is of particular interest, offering evidence of the explicit political mobilisation of past and present athletes in support of the ‘Yes Scotland’ pro-independence campaign. The use of sport within pro-independence political discourse is therefore scrutinised, drawing upon the principles of critical discourse analysis to explore the ideological assumptions underpinning the discursive representation of sport in relation to Scottish independence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-572
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
Volume9
Issue number3
Early online date18 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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political independence
political discourse
referendum
sport
Sports
campaign
discourse
working group
athlete
discourse analysis
mobilization
Referendum
Discourse
Group
inclusion
present
evidence

Keywords

  • Political discourse
  • Scottish nationalism
  • sport
  • cultural nationalism
  • political communication

Cite this

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AB - This article critically considers the extent to which sporting issues were harnessed by pro-independence political campaigners during the Scottish independence referendum campaign. Developments such as the inclusion of sport within the Scottish Government’s White Paper on Scottish independence, the establishment of the ‘Working Group on Scottish Sport’ and the establishment of the ‘Sport for Yes’ campaign group demonstrate the harnessing of sporting issues as an additional, if somewhat peripheral, debate point in the referendum campaigns . The latter of these developments, the establishment of the ‘Sport for Yes’ campaign group, is of particular interest, offering evidence of the explicit political mobilisation of past and present athletes in support of the ‘Yes Scotland’ pro-independence campaign. The use of sport within pro-independence political discourse is therefore scrutinised, drawing upon the principles of critical discourse analysis to explore the ideological assumptions underpinning the discursive representation of sport in relation to Scottish independence.

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