'We are an Island': Geographical imagery and dilemmas of British identity in Scotland and in England

Jackie Abell, Susan Condor, Clifford Stevenson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    50 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In this article we question recent psychological approaches that equate the constructs of citizenship and social identity and which overlook the capacity for units of governance to be represented in terms of place rather than in terms of people. Analysis of interviews conducted in England and Scotland explores how respondents invoked images of Britain as “an island” to avoid social identity constructions of nationality, citizenship, or civil society. Respondents in Scotland used island imagery to distinguish their political commitment to British citizenship from questions relating to their subjective identity. Respondents in England used island imagery to distinguish the United Kingdom as a distinctive political entity whilst avoiding allusions to a common or distinctive identity or character on the part of the citizenry. People who had moved from England to Scotland used island imagery to manage the delicate task of negotiating rights to social inclusion in Scottish civil society whilst displaying recognition of the indigenous population's claims to distinctive national culture and identity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-226
    Number of pages19
    JournalPolitical Psychology
    Volume27
    Issue number2
    Early online date23 Mar 2006
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006

    Keywords

    • island
    • Europe
    • national identity
    • England
    • Scotland
    • Discursive Psychology

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)
    • Social Sciences(all)

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