Skip to main content

School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


James Kennedy

James Kennedy
Dr James Kennedy
Director, Centre of Canadian Studies; Senior Lecturer in Sociology
6.28 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh SCOTLAND EH8 9LD
+44 (0)131 650 4250
Research Interests
Comparative/Historical Sociology, Political Sociology, Nationalism and National Identity, Civil Society and Democratization, Liberalism, Scotland, Canada/Quebec

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • By appointment


  • PhD (McGill University)
  • MA (University of Glasgow)

Research Interests

  • comparative/historical sociology
  • political sociology, including civil society and social movements
  • nationalism and national identity
  • comparative politics
  • Scottish and Quebecois politics and society


  • Theories and Theorists in Nationalism Studies (PG course) (Not offered in 2020/21)
  • Nations and Nationalism (UG Honours/PG course)
  • Designing and Doing Social Research (UG Honours course)
  • Contemporary Issues in Sociology ('Diversity: Canada and Beyond') (UG Honours course)
  • Research Design (PG course)

Research Interests    

My research interests lie broadly in comparative/historical sociology and political sociology. I am keen to explore research questions from a comparative and an historical perspective. In addition I place an emphasis on identifying the key role that the modern state has played and continues to play in shaping societal relations. The themes of classical sociological theory influence this broad, macro-orientated approach.

My more particular interests lie in the sociology of nationalism. Here, I have been concerned with identifying the sociological underpinnings affecting the character of nationalism. Scotland and Quebec have been the focus of this and on ongoing research. More recently I have undertaken research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, with Liliana Riga exploring the influence of American understandings of race and ethnicity on postwar settlements in East Central Europe through the 20th century.

I am currently President of the British Association of Canadian Studies (BACS) and a member of the Scientific Council of National Movements and Intermediate Structures in Europe (NISE).

I am currently supervising Ph.D.s on:

  • Music and nationalism in Lima, Peru
  • Civil society and mobilisation in Romania
  • State and trade unions in Mexico
  • Citizenship in Aboriginal communities in Canada

I have supervised completed Ph.D.s on:

  • Religious Practice, Religious Change: Evangelicals and Catholics in Santiago de Chile's Civil Society
  • Vetera Novis Augere: Nationalism, Neo-Thomism and Historiography in Quebec and Flanders 1900-1945
  • The Paradoxes of Social Capital: Mobility and Access in an Appalachian Community
  • State Rhetoric, Language and Regional Comparison in Turkey
  • Propertied communities: the agrarian emergence and industrial transformation of nationalism in the US and Norway - a propertied rights perspective
  • Mediated Voices: Nation/State-Building, NGOs and Survivors of Sexual Violence in Postconflict Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Extending Radical Space: A Comparative Historical Analysis of Sub-state Violent Contention in Quebec and Corsica
  • An American Atra? Boundaries of Diasporic Nation-Building amongst Assyrians and Chaldeans in the United States
  • Everyday Encounters and Narratives of Nationalism in Turkey
  • Multiculturalism Revisited in the Netherlands: towards a shared national membership in a multicultural, democratic nation-state
  • Halal Scots: Muslims' Social Identity Negotiation and Integration in Scotland
  • The Creation and the Recreation of the Imagined Community of Taiwan: the Critical Analysis of High School History Textbooks (1949 to 2011)
  • Legal Histories and Modern Identities: the emergence of nationalism in the historical territories of the Kingdom of Navarre, the Basque Provinces and the state of Spain
  • A Study of the Debate on Scottish Home Rule, 1886 to 1914
  • Exhibiting "Turkishness" at a time of flux in Turkey: An Ethnography of the State
  • Population Policy, Nationalism and Nation-Building in Quebec: Observation and Analyses of the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan
  • The Return of the State to Development: the State, Donors, and NGOs in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan
  • Pathways to Genocide: the Process of Ideological Radicalisation
  • Situating Strangers: Understanding Hindu Community Life in Lusaka, Zambia
  • Regional and National Identity Mobilization in Canada and Britain: Nova Scotia and North East England Compared
  • Imperial Nationalism: Nationalism and the Empire in late 19th century Scotland and Canada
  • The Development of a Discourse Community: the Scottish Constitutional Debate, 1967-1979



*(2013) Liberal Nationalisms: Empire, State, and Civil Society in Scotland and Quebec, Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press; Paperback Edition, 2015

*2014 Canadian Sociological Association's John Porter Book Award


(2020) 'Diverse Democracies and the Practices of Federalism' in A.-G. Gagnon and A. Tremblay (eds.) Federalism and National Diversity in the 21st Century, London: Palgrave Macmillan

(2019) 'The Emergence of Conjoined Nationalism and Regionalism in the British Isles' in X.-M. Núñez Seixas and H.J. Storm (eds.) Regionalism and Modern Europe: Identity Construction and Movements from 1890 to the Present Day, London: Bloomsbury

(2016) 'Liberal Nationalisms Revisited', Canadian Review of Sociology 53(1)

(2013) 'To Build a Notion: US State Department Expertise and Postwar Settlements in 20th century East Central Europe' (with L. Riga), Sociological Research Online 18(2)

(2013) 'A Liberal Route from Homogeneity? US Policymakers and the Liberalization of Ethnic Nationalists in Bosnia's Dayton Accords' (with L. Riga), Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 19(2)

(2012) ''Putting Cruelty First': War Crimes as Human Rights in US Policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina' (with L. Riga), Sociology 46(5)

(2011) 'Tolerant Majorities, Loyal Minorities and 'Ethnic Reversals': Constructing Minority Rights at Versailles 1919' (with L. Riga) in T. Harrison and S. Drakulic (eds.) Against Orthodoxy: Studies in Nationalism, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press

(2009) 'Tolerant Majorities, Loyal Minorities and 'Ethnic Reversals': Constructing Minority Rights at Versailles 1919' (with L. Riga), Nations and Nationalism 15(3)

(2008) '1867 and all that: Federalism and Union in Britain and Canada', Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies 1(2)

(2008) 'Quebec' in G.H. Herb and D. Kaplan (eds) Nations and Nationalism: A Global Historical Overview, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO

(2008) 'Mediating Which Nation? Citizenship and National Identities in the British Press' (with M. Rosie, P. Petersoo, J. MacInnes and S. Condor) in K. Wahl-Jurgensen (ed) Mediated Citizenship, London: Routledge

(2007) 'The International Relations of the Transition: Ernest Gellner's Social Philosophy and Political Sociology' (with R. Dannreuther), International Political Sociology 1(4)

(2007) 'Historical Sociology in Sociology: British Decline and US Hegemony with Lessons for International Relations' (with R. Dannreuther), International Politics 44(4)

(2007) 'Contrasting Liberal Nationalists: the Young Scots Society and the Ligue nationaliste canadienne', Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 13(1)

(2007) 'Where is the British national press?' (with J. MacInnes, M. Rosie, P. Petersoo and S. Condor), British Journal of Sociology 58(2)

(2006) 'Mitteleuropa as Middle America? The Inquiry and the Mapping of East Central Europe in 1919' (with L. Riga), Ab Imperio 2006(4)

(2006) 'Responding to Empire: Liberal Nationalism and Imperial Decline in Scotland and Quebec', Journal of Historical Sociology 19(3)

(2006) 'Mediating Which Nation? Citizenship and National Identities in the British Press' (with M. Rosie, P. Petersoo, J. MacInnes and S. Condor), Social Semiotics 16(2)

(2004) 'A Switzerland of the North? The Nationalistes and a Bi-national Canada', Nations and Nationalism 10(4)

(2004) 'Nation speaking unto nation? Newspapers and national identity in the devolved UK' (with M. Rosie, J. MacInnes, P. Petersoo and S. Condor), Sociological Review 52(4)

Topics interested in supervising

I am keen to supervise research from either a comparative/historical or political sociological perspective. I particularly welcome research proposals on questions of nationalism, civil society or democratization. To date, my supervision has focused around examinations of civil society and nationalism in a range of contexts.

If you are interested in being supervised by James Kennedy, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Sociology; MSc (R) Sociology; MSc (R) Socio-Cultural Studies