Book Chapter

Sport and secessionism in Scotland


Whilst the referendum on Scottish independence in September 2014 undoubtedly illustrated that political nationalism and support for secession from the United Kingdom has undoubtedly increased in recent years, this chapter will seek to critically examine the long-term development of rising support for Scottish independence, and the specific role of sporting issues in relation to Scottish political nationalism. A number of historical and contemporary issues which illustrate the complex interconnection between sporting, cultural and political nationalism in Scotland will be considered to demonstrate that a simplistic conflation between these contrasting forms and domains of nationalist sentiment is highly problematic in the Scottish context. The chapter will firstly explore the impact of Scotland’s comparatively privileged status within international sport as a ‘stateless nation’ which possesses independent, representative national teams in sports such as football and rugby union, considering the extent to which this historical anachronism has reinforced a notion of a distinctive Scottish ‘nation’ within the UK. Attention will then turn to various examples which illustrate the interconnection between sport and political nationalism in Scotland, including the ‘Home Internationals’ between Scotland and England, the dualistic symbolism of international sporting events such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, and the use of sport as a means for political campaigning within the Scottish independence referendum of 2014.

Attached files


Whigham, Stuart

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work


Year of publication: 2020
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-10-12

All rights reserved.

Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of Sport and secessionism in Scotland
This RADAR resource is Part of Sport and secessionism [ISBN: 9780367356552] edited by Mariann Vaczi, Alan Bairner (Routledge, 2020).


  • Owner: Joseph Ripp
  • Collection: Outputs
  • Version: 1 (show all)
  • Status: Live
  • Views (since Sept 2022): 375