The Scottish National Party: Transition to Power

James Mitchell, Lynn Gray Bennie, Rob Johns

Research output: Book/ReportBook

62 Citations (Scopus)


This book is a study of the Scottish National Party (SNP) immediately after it came to power in May 2007, based on a survey of the entire membership and elite interviews with over eighty senior party figures. Discussion is located within the appropriate literatures and comparisons drawn with other British parties. The image of the SNP as a youthful party, with a decentralized social movement-type organization, is challenged. The party is much older and much more male than had previously been thought and appears more like other conventional parties than its past image suggested. Its increased membership in recent years hold few clues as to how to re-engage youth as even these recent joiners are predominantly older people, often former members returning to the party. The study questions the value of the civic-ethnic dichotomy in understanding nationalism with SNP members, acknowledging different ways - ethnic and civic - of defining who belongs to the Scottish nation. The picture that emerges is of a reasonably coherent left of centre party that accepts the pragmatism of its leadership. While independence remains the key motivation for joining and being active, a sizeable minority see the party as a means of furthering Scottish interests.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages208
ISBN (Electronic)9780191731099
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-958000-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Ideology
  • Nationalism
  • political parties
  • Scottish politics


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