Imagining the Nation: Symbols of National Culture in England and Scotland

Frank Bechhofer, David McCrone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In the UK, the diversity of ‘national’ experiences provides a comparative framework for understanding the salience of national symbols. Using survey data, this article examines which symbols people in England and Scotland see as important to British culture, and to English/Scottish cultures; how their own national identity affects those choices; and the relationship between political and cultural aspects of their national identity. The English and the Scots agree broadly on what constitute important symbols of British culture, but their perceptions of English and Scottish culture differ considerably. The key finding, however, is that people’s sense of their own national identity makes little difference to their perceptions of the important symbols of British culture, whereas at the national level feeling strongly English or Scottish is associated with seeing the ‘national’ flag, the flag of St George and the Saltire respectively, as important. ‘Britain’ remains an important and meaningful concept in symbolic terms even though increasing numbers of English as well as Scots do not define themselves primarily as British.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-564
Issue number5
Early online date13 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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