Understanding Of Scottish Society
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Understanding Of Scottish Society
The concept of a nation state has only
emerged over the last couple of
centuries, before this point less
advanced and coherent states
managed the affairs of the populous.
The nation state is the overlapping of
two separate features. The nation is the
identity that individuals relate to within
the society. This can exist on its own, as
all that is needed is a person to feel that
they have a connection with others on no
more than shared belonging. The state
is used to take national feelings of
loyalty and use them to effectively
govern peoples lives. The state almost
like a governmental overlay for a
national identity to operate within.
Scotland can be seen in this light
because it is a fine example of what
nationhood looks like, without the
apparatus of the state to cloud the
picture. Scotland has this dual identity of
Scottish nation within the confines of a
In answering this question it is necessary to
investigate the origins of modern nation states.
Firstly examining what the term 'Nation State'
means by breaking it down into its two parts. Lastly I
will examine how accurate a term the 'Nation State'
is when applied to Scottish Society.
The 'Nation State' is a recent phenomena, with most
of human history being founded on stateless
societies. These stateless societies refer to the
tribal and clan systems that existed across the
globe, before the emergence of larger societies
such as Empires and Kingdoms. These societies
were able to function as they were relatively small.
The whole or at least a large part of the community
could be involved in any decision that need to be
made, although because of their size complex
decision making processes were needed. With the
increase of population and the subsequent
competition for limited resources, systems started
to emerge that could handle the new demands.
Economies started to produce more than what was
required by the community, so the surplus was trade
with neighbouring communities. This process also
created the need for higher authority to govern the
transactions between the communities. These
embryonic communities developed into what can be
described as traditional states, with a sovereign
leader such as a King or Emperor who ruled
absolutely. They could do this because they held the
reins of the states military forces. In Max Weber's
view this was the critical component of any state.
For a state to be legitimate it must have a monopoly
of the use of violence within the confines of its own
territory. However usually this was only a last resort
and the ordinary people were quite unaware of the
state developing around them. A limited form of
government would emerge to ensure that the Head
of the State could rule effectively. Up until the
Industrial Revolution this was the most common
form of state in Europe. Since the industrial
revolution the demands of modern society and its
increasing skilled populous has meant that
traditional states have been swept away. Nation
States now cover the surface of the world and with
few exceptions all the world's population can claim
to be a citizen of a nation state.
The Nation State is a combination of two different
terms, a nation or a state can exist quite
independent of each other. The nation consists of a
community that shares common language, values
and customs. The nation can be broken down into
four parts. The narrative is were the customs and
stories of the nation are kept alive, by people
retelling them to the next generation and also by
reinventing them so as they take on new relevance
to the people. People consider the nation to be a
ancient symbol that keep's them in touch with their
past and previous generations. This connection
gives people a sense of belonging that all people
seek in their lives. The ancient aspect of nations
can be overplayed as many are of a quite recent
origin. This last point is important as historical
accuracy is not always of the highest priority when
the myth of a nation is being retold. In fact
sometimes the tradition can be of pure invention,
but if it serves the purpose of creating identity for
the people then it will survive and flourish. The
Victorian invention of tartan in Scotland is perfect
example of this fabricated history suiting the needs
of a alienated populous. Lastly the purity of the race
is often cited as a requirement for membership of a
nation. This purity often takes the shape of
possessing certain physical and mental
requirements such as all Swedish people are tall,
blond and blue eyed or that Black people can not be
identified as being British because of their colour.
Again this point is open to debate as all nations are
a mixture of different cultures and races. However
this purity is something that
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Political geography, Ethnic groups in the United Kingdom, Scottish society, Nation state, Scottish people, Nation, Scotland, Scottish national identity, State, British people, Edinburgh, Devolution in the United Kingdom
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