Claiming National Identity

David McCrone, Frank Bechhofer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using data from the British and Scottish Social Attitudes surveys 2006, this article examines the willingness of people living and born in England and Scotland to accept or reject claims to national identity made by those living in but not born in the appropriate territory. It compares the way claims employing key markers, notably birthplace, accent, parentage and 'race' are received in the two countries. It is a significant finding that the results for the two countries do not differ greatly. National identity, thinking of oneself as 'exclusively national', is the critical criterion explaining the extent to which respondents reject claims, while there is a modest educational effect if the respondent does not have a university degree. National identity is not to be equated with citizenship but involves cultural markers of birth, ancestry and accent as well as residence. Understanding how people identify and use markers of national identity is not as straightforward as politicians in particular believe and imply.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-948
Number of pages28
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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