Political traditions and Scottish devolution

Hall, Matthew Philip (2009). Political traditions and Scottish devolution. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis seeks to develop a conception of the political traditions operating in the UK and then apply it to the development of Scottish Devolution. I argue that the concept of tradition has been under-valued and theorized in social science and that the notion of political traditions has heuristic value when applied to British politics. Discussion of a distinctive British Political Tradition has been kept to the margins in explanations of the British political system with only a few authors seeking to explore the ideational underpinnings of the institutions and process of British government and the Westminster Model. The recent work of Bevir and Rhodes has raised the profile of political traditions, however I contend that their conceptualization is flawed and thus, heuristically limited. I argue that we can identify a dominant political tradition, the British Political Tradition, which has decisively influenced the nature and conduct of British political life over time. This tradition expresses and facilitates the ideas and interests of dominant socio-economic groups in UK society. However it has not gone uncontested. We can also identify the existence of competing political traditions which challenge aspects or the entirety of, the British Political Tradition. Although competing political traditions resonate asymmetrically, it is through the process of conflict and contestation that changes in the British political system can be explained. From this I then narrate the history of Scottish Devolution to date and offer comment on how this interactive and iterative process continues to inform outcomes since 1999. Overall I argue that the dominant political tradition continues to have a major impact on the British political system.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN1187 Scotland
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/429


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