Student Notes

This chapter aims to give you a historical base from which to understand Scotland sociologically. The point is not that sociology is simply ‘modern history’ (in this case, of the last hundred years) but a way of analysing social change in Scotland. That is why there are three time-points, 1900, 1950 and 2000, as signposts, and attached ‘motifs’ to them, respectively, capital, state and nation.

The argument is that these motifs were the dominant ones at these time-points, rather than being unique to them. Bear in mind that in the following Chapter 3, we will ask: what is sociologically interesting about Scotland? Chapter 2 provides some historical background so that your understanding is more firmly grounded.

Specifically, the chapter aims to:

  • explore the social forces which made modern Scotland.
  • examine the complexity of social, economic and political forces by providing ‘signposts’ for 1900, 1950 and 2000.
  • characterise each of these signposts in terms of the broad motifs of, respectively, ‘capital’, ‘state’ and ‘nation’.