Competitive nationalism: state, class and the forms of capital in devolved Scotland

Law, Alex and Mooney, Gerry (2012). Competitive nationalism: state, class and the forms of capital in devolved Scotland. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 30(1) pp. 62–77.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1068/c1144r

Abstract

Devolved government in Scotland actively reconstitutes the unequal conditions of social class reproduction. Recognition of state-led class reconstitution draws upon the social theory of Bourdieu. Our analysis of social class in devolved Scotland revisits theories that examine the state as a ‘power container’. A range of state-enabling powers regulate the legal, economic, social, and cultural containers of class relations as specific forms of what Bourdieu called economic, social, and cultural ‘capital’. The preconditions of class reproduction are structured in direct ways by the Scottish state as a wealth container but also, more indirectly, as a cultural container and a social container. Competitive nationalism in the devolved Scottish state enacts neoliberal policies as a class-specific worldview but, at the same time, discursively frames society as a panclass national fraternity in terms of distinctive Scottish values of welfare nationalism. Nationalism is able to express this ambiguity in symbolic ways in which the partisan language of social class cannot.Nationalism is able to express this ambiguity in symbolic ways in which the partisan language of social class cannot.

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