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Title: Scots' attitudes to Britain and to the European Union : the psychology of national segregation and supra-national integration
Author: Sindic, Denis
Awarding Body: University of St Andrews
Current Institution: University of St Andrews
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis is concerned with attitudes towards supra-national bodies, and more specifically with Scots' attitudes towards union in Britain and Europe. Firstly, it is suggested that support for, or opposition, to integration in a supra-national body depends on the extent to which this body is believed to enhance or undermine the ability to express national identity {identity enhancement vs. identity undermining). Identity undermining, in turn, depends upon a combined sense of incompatibility with outgroup identities/interests and of ingroup powerlessness within the supranational body. Secondly, it is suggested that these features of the social context and of identity meanings can be actively constructed in order to fulfil strategic purposes, such as persuading audiences in favour of separatism or integration. Five studies are reported which investigated these hypotheses. In study 1, we looked at the discourses of Scottish politicians and at the way their accounts of group identities and social reality could be understood in strategic terms, i.e. in relation to their political projects regarding Scotland's status in Britain and in Europe. In the second study, a survey design was used in order to provide quantitative evidence of the relationship between identity undermining, incompatibility, powerlessness and separatism. The third (experimental) study sought to clarify the causal relationship between these variables and showed that manipulating identity undermining lead to increased support for separatism. Finally, the fourth and the fifth (experimental) studies suggested that identity constructions, in the form of judgements of group prototypicality, can vary as a function of the strategic claim made by participants. In conclusion, the merits are stressed of an approach to identity processes and attitudes towards supra-national bodies that is sensitive to both context and content. It is also stressed that context and contents should not be taken as perceptual givens but as actively constructed by social actors.
Supervisor: Reicher, Stephen David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM753.S5 ; Group identity ; Nationalism--Psychological aspects ; National characteristics, Scottish ; Great Britain--Public opinion ; European Union--Public opinion ; Scots--Attitudes ; Supranationalism