Joaquim Gaignard: “Transforming a Nation by turning North: Scotland’s external policy efforts to promote a new Northern Scottish identity”

In Students by General Account

My PhD project is looking at pro-active policy towards the Arctic region promoted by Scottish leaders, pointing at cultural affinities and historical links with Nordic countries. This is what I propose to term the ‘Northern Turn’ of the Scottish Government’s external policy.

This research will focus on the accompanying cultural transformation, asking how Scotland is promoting a renewed, Northern identity, and how this is perceived by the Scottish people. In answering these questions, I will be addressing whether there really is a ‘Northern Turn’ and, if so, whether this turning point in Scottish external policy extends and affects the Scottish identity. These questions ultimately speak to broader questions about the relation between policy and identity.

Using a theoretical framework at the intersection of Critical Geopolitics (CG) and Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA), this research will mainly be conducted using a mixed-methods approach applying quantitative and qualitative tools to data derived from a variety of sources including texts (including newspapers, maps and policy documents), interviews with leaders and politicians, and surveys administered at cultural events celebrating Scotland’s northern linkages.