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'We are an island': Geographical imagery in accounts of citizenship, civil society and national identity in Scotland and in England.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date04/2006
JournalPolitical Psychology
Journal number2
Volume27
Number of pages27
Pages191-217
Original languageEnglish

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.

Bibliographic note

Abell was lead author. She formulated the idea and argument, conducted the analysis, and produced the write-up. Abell presented the research at the International Society for Political Psychology conference in Boston USA (2003), and also at the BPS Social Section conference in Huddersfield (2002). Abell also presented the research at a Place & Space conference at the Open University, Milton Keynes (2002). The findings from this research formed the basis of a televised expert contribution for Channel 4's, Time Team programme (2007). RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Psychology