The Open UniversitySkip to content

‘We’ve never had it so good’: The ‘problem’ of the working class in devolved Scotland

Law, Alex and Mooney, Gerry (2006). ‘We’ve never had it so good’: The ‘problem’ of the working class in devolved Scotland. Critical Social Policy, 26(3) pp. 523–542.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Class has become the social condition that dare not it speak its name in the devolved Scotland. This is despite the persistence of marked class divisions and structured inequalities within contemporary Scottish society. We critically examine the most empirically sophisticated and coherent analysis of social class in Scotland – that provided by ‘the Edinburgh school’ of social scientists, particularly their claim that Scotland is now a prosperous, ‘professional society’ where only a small but significant minority are trapped in poverty. This paper further considers the extent to which ‘devolution’, and the dominant representations to which it has given rise, serve to generate a series of other myths in which class is both devalued but simultaneously mobilized in the negative portrayal of some of the most disadvantaged sections of the working class. Against an emerging, home-grown view of ‘New Scotland’ as a prosperous ‘Smart, Successful Scotland’, poverty and wealth inequalities continue to be a necessary feature of the division of labour. In Scotland, as elsewhere, class remains the pivot-point around which much of social policy is encoded and enacted.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 0261-0183
Keywords: class; inequality; poverty; professional society; Scotland;
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC)
International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)
OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Item ID: 17684
Depositing User: Users 7185 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2009 09:39
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2019 08:31
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU