Meanings of Europe in the Scottish independence movement after the 2016 EU referendum : Brexit, (dis)integration and values
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This thesis asks what the meaning of Europe is to the argument, purpose, and continuation of the Scottish independence movement, to the everyday lives of independence supporters, and to the narrative of what Scotland is today, and in the future. The theoretical framework of the research is formed around the study of identity and small state theory. Data has been collected by means of ethnographic fieldwork with members of the Scottish independence movement. I argue that there were mixed reactions to the EU referendum within the independence movement. Many participants were frustrated, but there was also an awareness of opportunities Brexit may bring to the movement. Some respondents who voted for Brexit felt their opinion was not valued. Brexit resulted in a growing awareness of European integration and has led to the formation of trans-national narrative structures of European identity. The detriments of disintegration present an opportunity to blame Westminster and to provide a potential alternative. But Brexit also highlights Scotland’s vulnerabilities and dependency on a shelter relationship. I examine participants’ understanding of vulnerability and how it is incorporated into a form of trans-border nationalism. Finally, I argue that a narrative is formed in which a myth of European values supports a myth of Scottish values, while at the same time being contrasted to a myth of British values. Thus, European values contribute to the formation of and differentiation with Britain as the other. What appears is a supra-national European identity structure in which European values have strategic value and are used to support the argument for independence.