School of Social and Political Science

Professor David McCrone

Job Title

Emeritus Professor of Sociology

David McCrone. homage to Joan Eardley and my thanks to Georgie Wilson who painted it

Room number


Building (Address)

Chisholm Yards

Street (Address)

High School Yards

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)



David McCrone is Emeritus Professor of Sociology, and co-founder of the University of Edinburgh's Institute of Governance in 1999. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He coordinated the research programme funded by The Leverhulme Trust on Constitutional Change and National Identity (1999-2005), and on National Identity, Citizenship and Social Inclusion (2006-2012). He was co-director of the ESRC-funded Scottish Election Study (1997), a principal investigator in the Scottish Parliamentary Election Study (1999), and has held a number of research grants over the years from ESRC, Leverhulme, Rowntree, and Nuffield. He has written extensively on the sociology and politics of Scotland, and the comparative study of nationalism. He was a member of the Expert Panel which devised procedures and standing orders for the Scottish Parliament, and was advisor to its Procedures Committee which reviewed the Parliament’s founding principles. He was professorial research fellow on Heat and the City, a multi-disciplinary research programme funded by the Research Councils UK.

His latest book Who Runs Edinburgh? was published in October 2022 by Edinburgh University Press. 



  • MA (University of Edinburgh)
  • MSc (University of Edinburgh)

Studying Nationalism at Edinburgh

In the early 1990s, we established Edinburgh as a major centre for research in the study of Scotland, and in the sociology of nationalism and national identity. Together with Tom Nairn, who died in early 2023, we established the postgraduate Master's degree in Nationalism Studies. This has always been a collaborative effort, and the Ethnicity, Nationalism, and National Identity Network (ENNIN) is keen to attract enthusiastic and skilled PhD students to work with us and to develop shared ideas and interests.

Biographical statement

My own research on the sociology of Scotland and the sociology of nationalism and national identity has benefited greatly from working with other people in a mutually supportive and enthusiastic research environment. More recently our work together has focused on national identity, and, in particular, the ways in which people construct and negotiate these and other identities for themselves. In this work, we have used large-scale surveys, ethnographies and qualitative interviews. Since 1999, we have been involved in a major programme of research on national identity in the context of constitutional change, funded by The Leverhulme Trust. This research has allowed us to explore, for example, the degree to which setting up the Scottish Parliament has had an impact on national identity, not only in Scotland but also in England, where there are interesting questions about the rise of nationalism in the context of the Brexit vote in 2016. 

I continue to work collaboratively, for example, with Michael Keating on issues of sovereignty in Scotland, using survey work on British Election Study, and Scottish Social Attitudes. we have published papers in The Political Quarterly together. 

I am pleased to write for our journal Scottish Affairs, which has recently celebrated its first 30 years under the editorship, first, of Lindsay Paterson, and currently, Michael Rosie. See, for example, 'What school did you go to? Education and status in Edinburgh', in Scottish Affairs, vol. 29(1), 2020; 


'Changing places: comparing 1986 and 2019 elites in Scotland', Scottish Affairs, vol. 30(1), 2021.

Recent publications

In the first decade of this century, I published two books which I am especially proud of. Once more, they are the products of collaborative working, the essence of academic life.

The New Sociology of Scotland book coverThe New Sociology of Scotland. London: Sage, 2017. (link) (Prologue) (Epilogue)

McCrone and Bechhofer Understanding National Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. (link)

More recently, I published a book called Who Runs Edinburgh?, (Edinburgh University Press, 2022). it is an attempt to make sense of a city I came to as a student in the 1960s, and never left. Like many people who did so, I think of myself as an insider-outsider. The question, who runs the city, is an intriguing one. Read it, and see if you agree with my conclusions!

in the last few years I've published articles and papers on a range of topics such as:

'Declaring Arbroath: atque supra crepidam', in Klaus Peter Muller's edited collection 'Scotland and Arbroath, 1320-2020'. (2020);

'This land is our land: understanding energy nationalism', in Jan Webb and Faye Wade's edited handbook, Energy and Society (2022);

'The Question of the vis-a-vis: Scotland and others', in revue electronique d'etudes sur le mode anglophone ( 

'Autonomous belonging: the politics of stateless nationalism', in The Routledge Handbook of Comparative Territorial Autonomies, edited by Brian Fong and Atsuko Achijo (2022).

'Who's European? Scotland and England compared', in The Political Quarterly, vol.90(3), 2019.

and with Michael Keating:

'Questions of sovereignty: redefining politics in Scotland?', in The Political Quarterly, vol.92(1), 2021;


'Exploring sovereignty in Scotland', in The Political Quarterly, vol.94(1), 2023.




Works within

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
McCrone D. The rise and rise of English nationalism? Political Quarterly. 2023 Oct 1;94(4):604-612. Epub 2023 Jul 16. doi: 10.1111/1467-923X.13303
McCrone D, Keating M. Exploring sovereignty in Scotland. Political Quarterly. 2023;94(1):26-35. Epub 2022 Dec 1. doi: 10.1111/1467-923X.13214
McCrone D, Iannelli C, Deary IJ. On Lindsay Paterson: Discipline, method or field? The place of education in the social sciences. Scottish Affairs . 2022 Nov 1;31(4):419-434. doi: 10.3366/SCOT.2022.0429
McCrone D. Who Runs Edinburgh? Edinburgh University Press, 2022. 299 p.
McCrone D. Autonomous belonging: The politics of stateless nationalism. In Fong BCH, Ichijo A, editors, The Routledge Handbook of Comparative Territorial Autonomies. 1st ed. Routledge. 2022 doi: 10.4324/9781003001645-7
McCrone D. The question of the vis-à-vis: Scotland and others . Revue electronique d’etudes sur le monde anglophone (e-REA). 2022;19(2). Epub 2022 Jun 15. doi: 10.4000/erea.13810
McCrone D. This land is our land: Understanding energy nationalism. In Webb J, Wade F, Tingey M, editors, Research Handbook on Energy and Society. Edward Elgar. 2021. p. 31-44. (Elgar Handbooks in Energy, the Environment and Climate Change). doi: 10.4337/9781839100710.00011
McCrone D, Keating M. Questions of sovereignty: Redefining politics in Scotland? Political Quarterly. 2021;92(1):14-22. Epub 2021 Jan 4. doi: 10.1111/1467-923X.12958
McCrone D. Changing places: Comparing 1986 and 2019 elites in Scotland. Scottish Affairs . 2021;30(1):1-30. Epub 2021 Feb 1. doi: 10.3366/scot.2021.0350
McCrone D. Nationality and national identity. In Keating M, editor, The Oxford Handbook of Scottish Politics. Oxford University Press. 2020. p. 22-41 doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198825098.013.2
McCrone D. Declaring Arbroath: Atque supra crepidam. In Müller KP, editor, Scotland and Arbroath 1320 – 2020: 700 Years of Fighting for Freedom, Sovereignty, and Independence. Peter Lang. 2020. p. 443-465
McCrone D. What school did you go to? Education and status in Edinburgh. Scottish Affairs. 2020;29(1):24-49. Epub 2020 Feb 1. doi: 10.3366/scot.2020.0305
McCrone D. Who's European? Scotland and England compared. Political Quarterly. 2019 Sept 1;90(3):515-524. Epub 2019 Jul 1. doi: 10.1111/1467-923X.12702
Anderson M, Mccrone D, Paterson L. A roch wind blawin’: Frank Bechhofer, the disruptive intellectual Scottish Affairs . 2019 Aug 1;28(3):251-261. doi: 10.3366/scot.2019.0283
Webb J, Hawkey D, McCrone D, Tingey M. House, home and transforming energy in a cold climate. Families, Relationships and Societies. 2016 Nov;5(3):411–429. Epub 2016 Oct 10. doi: 10.1332/204674316X14758447787663
Hawkey D, Webb J, Lovell H, McCrone D, Tingey M, Winskel M. Sustainable Urban Energy Policy: Heat and the City. 1 ed. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015. 262 p. (Routledge Studies in Energy Policy). doi: 10.4324/9781315739533
Bechhofer F, McCrone D. Imagining the Nation: Symbols of National Culture in England and Scotland. Ethnicities. 2013;13(5):544-564. Epub 2013 Jan 13. doi: 10.1177/1468796812469501
Bechhofer F, McCrone D. Changing Claims in Context: National Identity Revisited. Ethnic and Racial Studies. 2012. Epub 2012 May 25. doi: 10.1080/01419870.2012.676204
Bechhofer F, McCrone D. Choosing National Identity. Sociological Research Online. 2010 Aug;15(3). doi: 10.5153/sro.2191
McCrone D, Bechhofer F. Claiming National Identity. Ethnic and Racial Studies. 2010;33(6):921-948. doi: 10.1080/01419870903457199
Bechhofer F, (ed.), McCrone D. National Identity, Nationalism and Constitutional Change. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
McCrone D. National Identity and Culture in a Cold Climate: The Case of Scotland. Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies. 2009;2(2):53-66. doi: No DOI for this publication
Curtice J, McCrone D, McEwen N, Marsh M, Ormiston R. Revolution or Evolution? The 2007 Scottish Elections. Edinburgh University Press, 2009.
McCrone D. Recovering Civil Society: Does Sociology Need It? In Baert P, Koniordos S, Procacci G, Ruzza C, editors, Conflict, Citizenship and Civil Society. Routledge. 2009. p. 183-99
Bechhofer F, McCrone D. “Stating the Obvious: ten truths about national identity”. Scottish Affairs. 2009;2009/67:7-22.
McCrone D. Scotland Days: Evolving Nation and Icons. In McCrone D, McPherson G, editors, National Days: Constructing and Mobilizing National Identity. London : Palgrave Macmillan. 2009. p. 26-40
Bechhofer F, McCrone D. Being Scottish. In McCrone D, Bechhofer F, editors, National Identity, Nationalism and Constitutional Change. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 2009. p. 64-94
McCrone D. Conundrums and Contradictions: what Scotland wants. In Jeffery C, Mitchell J, editors, The Scottish Parliament 1999-2009: the first decade. Edinburgh: Hansard Society with Luath Press. 2009. p. 93-104
McPherson G, (ed.), McCrone D. National Days: constructing and mobilising national identity. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
McCrone D, Bechhofer F. National Identity and Social Inclusion. Ethnic and Racial Studies. 2008 Oct;31(7):1245-1266. doi: 10.1080/01419870701704677
McCrone D. “Nationality, Community and the National Question: the political writings of R.M. MacIver”. Journal of Scottish Thought. 2008;2008/1:49-66.
Bechhofer F, McCrone D. Talking the Talk: National Identity in England and Scotland. In Park A, Curtice J, Thomson K, Phillips M, Johnson M, Clery E, editors, British Social Attitudes: The 24th Report. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. 2008. p. 81-104
McCrone D. Culture and Nation. In Bennett T, Frow J, editors, The SAGE Handbook of Cultural Analysis. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. 2008. p. 317-337
Anderson M, Bechhofer F, McCrone D, Jamieson L, Li Y, Stewart R. Timespans and plans among young adults. Sociology. 2005 Jan 1;39(1):139-155. doi: 10.1177/0038038505049006
Paterson L, Bechhofer F, McCrone D. Living in Scotland. Edinburgh University Press, 2004.
Paterson L, Iannelli C, Bechhofer F, McCrone D. Social class and social opportunity. In Living in Scotland: Social and Economic Change since 1980. Edinburgh University Press. 2004. p. 80-104
Li Y, Bechhofer F, Anderson M, Jamieson L, McCrone D, Stewart R. A divided working class? Planning and career perception in the service and working classes. Work, Employment And Society. 2002 Dec 1;16(4):617-636. doi: 10.1177/095001702321587398
Jamieson L, Stewart R, Li Y, Anderson M, Bechhofer F, McCrone D. Single, 20-something and seeking? In Allan G, Jones G, editors, Social Relations and the Life Course . Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2002. p. 135-154
Jamieson L, Anderson M, McCrone D, Bechhofer F, Stewart R, Li Y. Cohabitation and commitment: Partnership plans of young men and women. Sociological Review . 2002 Aug 1;50(3):356-377. doi: 10.1111/1467-954X.00387
Anderson M, Bechhofer F, Jamieson L, McCrone D, Li YJ, Stewart R. Confidence amid uncertainty: Ambitions and plans in a sample of young adults. Sociological Research Online. 2002 Feb 28;6(4):-.
Curtice J, McCrone D, Park A, Paterson L, Curtice J, (ed.), McCrone D, (ed.) et al. New Scotland, New Society? Edinburgh University Press, 2002.
McCrone D, Paterson L. The conundrum of Scottish independence. Scottish Affairs. 2002;40:54-75.
Paterson L, Brown A, Curtice J, Hinds K, McCrone D, Park A et al. New Scotland, New Politics? Edinburgh University Press, 2001.
Brown A, McCrone D, Paterson L, Surridge P. The Scottish Electorate: the 1997 General Election and Beyond. Macmillan, 1999.
Surridge P, Brown A, McCrone D, Paterson L. Scotland: constitutional preferences and voting behaviour. In Norris P, Evans G, editors, Critical Elections? British Parties and Voters in Long-Term Perspective. SAGE Publications Ltd. 1999. p. 223-239
Brown A, McCrone D, Paterson L. Politics and Society in Scotland (second edition). Macmillan, 1998.
Surridge P, Paterson L, Brown A, McCrone D, Paterson L, (ed.). The Scottish electorate and the Scottish parliament. Scottish Affairs. 1998;36-60.
Paterson L, McCrone D, Brown A. Politics and Society in Scotland. Macmillan, 1996.
McCrone D, Paterson L, Brown A. Reforming local government in Scotland. Local Government Studies. 1993;19:9-15.
Withers C, Pittock M, (ed.), McCrone D, (ed.). The Invention of Scotland; Understanding Scotland; the sociology of a stateless nation. Journal of Historical Geography. 1993;19(2):219-221.
Paterson L, Brown A, McCrone D. Constitutional crisis: The causes and consequences of the 1992 Scottish general election result. Parliamentary Affairs. 1992;45:627-639.