Politics and football fandom in post- ‘indyref’ Scotland: Nationalism, unionism and stereotypes of the ‘Old Firm’

Stuart Whigham*, John Kelly, Alan Bairner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Electoral politics is strongly influenced by unfolding events, some of them leading to major shifts in alignment. There has been renewed interest in the ‘floating voter’ in contemporary Europe, not least because of increased electoral support for right-wing political parties. In Scotland, however, the clearest example of realignment is to be found not so much in support for specific political parties, although that should not be ignored, but rather in a shift of sections of the population from UK unionism towards support for Scottish independence, despite the result of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. We explore past contentions from certain authors that the ethno-religious, socio-economic and political stratification of supporters of the two largest football clubs in Scotland, Celtic and Rangers, may be linked to their personal voting dispositions with regards to the issue of Scottish independence. These past findings are discussed in light of our interviews with fans of Scottish football teams which explore their perceptions of the interconnection between football club support, nationalism, unionism, and political voting in contemporary Scotland. Our interviewees suggest that the shifting dynamics of contemporary Scottish politics in an era of constitutional evolution has been reflected in shifting political and social affiliations of Scottish football clubs: although the traditional political allegiances of Celtic and Rangers were argued to persist to a degree, consensus emerged that these traditional allegiances have been destabilised by broader political, socio-economic and ideological developments.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Politics
Early online date19 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jun 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • nationalism
  • politics
  • Scottish football
  • Scottish independence
  • sociology


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