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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Frank Bechhofer

Frank Bechhofer
Professor Emeritus Frank Bechhofer
Research Fellow
Edinburgh UK
+44 (0)131 650 6385


  • B.A. Mechanical Sciences (University of Cambridge)
  • Examination in the Principles of Industrial Management (University of Cambridge)

Biographical statement

Frank Bechhofer is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Governance and Professor Emeritus of Social Research.  He started his career as a Research Officer in the Department of Applied Economics at Cambridge University and in 1965 came to Edinburgh as a lecturer in the Department of Sociology.  He founded the Research Centre for Social Sciences in 1984 and was its Director until he took early retirement in 1997, in order to concentrate on his research.

Since that time his research interests, in collaboration mainly with David McCrone, have been focussed around studies of nationalism, and especially national identity in Scotland and England in the context of constitutional change.  Using a variety of research methods the emphasis is on how people 'do' identity, how they construct and sustain their own national identity, accept or reject the identity claims of others, and how these processes relate to constitutional change.

Selected Publications

Understanding National Identity

‘Understanding National Identity’ was launched at the conference organised by the Ethnicity, Nationalism and National Identity Network (ENNIN) on Friday 15th May 2015. Click here for an outline of the talk. The book is published by Cambridge University Press.

The authors will be talking about it at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 26th August at 11am in the Garden Theatre. 



  • Understanding National Identity, (Cambridge University Press, 2015) (with David McCrone) (link)
  • National Identity, Nationalism and Constitutional Change, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) (edited with David McCrone)
  • Principles of Research Design in the Social Sciences, (Routledge, 2000) (with Lindsay Paterson)
  • Living in Scotland: social and economic changes since 1980 (Edinburgh University Press, 2004) (with Lindsay Paterson and David McCrone)
  • 'Talking the talk: national identity in England and Scotland', in British Social Attitudes, the 24th Report (Sage Publications, 2008) (with David McCrone)
  • 'National Identity and Social Inclusion', Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2008 (with David McCrone)
  • 'Being British: a crisis of identity?', Political Quarterly, 2007 vol. 78(2), pp.251-60 (with David McCrone)
  • 'Whither Britishness? English and Scottish people in Scotland', Nations and Nationalism, 2005, vol.11(1) pp.65-82 (with Richard Kiely, and David McCrone)