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The emergence of 'citizenship' in popular discourse: the case of Scotland


Hennebry-Leung, M and Bonacina-Pugh, F, The emergence of 'citizenship' in popular discourse: the case of Scotland, Citizenship Studies, 23, (8) pp. 831-852. ISSN 1362-1025 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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© 2019 Informa UK Limited. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Citizenship studies on 6 August 2019, available online:

DOI: doi:10.1080/13621025.2019.1645812


The 2014 Scottish Referendum gauged public opinion on the possibility of Scotland leaving the United Kingdom, raising significant questions about the legitimacy of claims to citizenship in the event of independence. Through a mixed methods survey, this study explored the ways in which citizenship emerged in popular discourse in the lead up to the Scottish referendum. Findings point to an emphasis in public discourse on a commitment to and participation in society, instead of the more traditional citizenship markers of ancestry, birthplace or residency. Data indicates a view of citizenship encompassing status and practice, while identity was framed in terms of more static notions of birthplace and ancestry. The salience of social participation was noticeably greater in respondents’ assessment of others’ potential Scottish citizenship than their own. Specifically, the study highlights the salience of relational aspects of citizenship in popular discourse, with an emphasis on social citizenship in preference to legal citizenship. The study constitutes a significant contribution to ongoing discussions about ‘participatory citizenship’ in the field of Citizenship studies, by providing much needed empirical data on social conceptualizations of citizenship.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:citizenship, social construction, making citizenship, identity
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Citizenship
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Citizenship and national identity
UTAS Author:Hennebry-Leung, M (Dr Mairin Hennebry-Leung)
ID Code:140210
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2020-07-31
Last Modified:2020-08-25
Downloads:9 View Download Statistics

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