Professor Darel Paul: The ‘civic’ road to secession: Political ideology as a nationalist boundary marker in contemporary Scotland
Civic nationalism is broadly considered a weak vessel for secessionism. Civic markers of national identity lack the resonance and intensity of pre-political ethnic attachments and are problematically oriented toward the state, precisely what secessionists seek to disrupt. Nonetheless contemporary Scottish nationalism has proven itself unusually successful, using political ideology as its signature boundary mechanism. This is not because Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom differ substantively in terms of political values. Instead Scottish nationalists embrace a social democratic identity and assign England a neoliberal one because their civic form of nationalism requires civic markers of national identity able to bear the weight of nationalist politicization. This symbolic cultivation of a Scottish social democratic essence is not truly civic, however, thanks to a mythological fusion of the civic with the ethnic, ideology with genealogy.