Development of a discourse community : the Scottish constitutional debate 1967-1979
Stewart, C. J. A. (Craig J. A.)
This thesis argues for an intellectual history approach to understanding the Scottish constitutional debate as a process of political and ideological change, with implications for understanding the ideological basis of current Scottish politics. It justifies and outlines a methodological approach based on the insights of Quentin Skinner and the 'Cambridge School' in the 'history of ideas'; utilises this methodology to provide an intellectual history of the Scottish constitutional debate from the Scottish National Party (SNP) victory in the 1967 Hamilton by-election to the devolution referendum of 1979; and outlines the implications of this approach for the historiography of the debate, our understanding of contemporary Scottish politics, and the development of a more historically sensitive political science. It theorises and develops a concept unique to this thesis, that of the 'discourse community', traces the substantive creation of the Scottish discourse community in the 1967-1979 period, and argues for the methodological usefulness of this concept in examining the debate as a process of intellectual/ideological change. Overall, the thesis argues that a Skinnerian intellectual history approach to the Scottish constitutional debate contributes to a fuller, more historically sensitive historiography of the period, challenging current historiographical understanding of the constitutional debate and of Scottish political development; delineates the development of a Scottish discourse community between 1967-1979; and has implications for our understanding of current Scottish politics, in particular highlighting that the conceptualisation of 'left wing' Scotland is an ideological construction and suggesting a more critical approach to such perceptions of, and contemporary claims for, a post-devolution 'new politics'.