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Looking up in Scotland? Multinationalism, multiculturalism and political elites

  • Dr Nasar Meer, University of Strathclyde

  • Thursday 3 December, 4pm - 6pm, W/222

  • Production team: Christy Morris, Sam Hart, Andrew Scott and Alex Robertson

Dr Nasar Meer

Nasar Meer is a Reader in Comparative Social Policy and Citizenship at Strathclyde University, and Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Fellow (2014-2019).  Recent publications include: Citizenship, Identity & the Politics of Multiculturalism: The Rise of Muslim Consciousness (2015, Palgrave 2nd Edition); Interculturalism and Multiculturalism: Debating the Dividing Lines (co-edited, 2015 EUP),Racialization and Religion (Edited, 2014 Routledge), Race and Ethnicity (2014, Sage), and European Multiculturalism(s): Religious, Cultural and Ethnic Challenges (co-edited, 2012 EUP).  He is currently working on a four volume Routledge collection on Islam and Modernity, and in 2014 was elected to the RSE Young Academy of Scotland (YAS) and the UK Social Policy Association (SPA) Executive.


Recording of Dr Meer's talk

Seminar synopsis

On Thursday 3 December, Dr Nasar Meer, University of Strathclyde delivered an Open Lecture entitled 'Looking up in Scotland? Multinationalism, multiculturalism and political elites'.

At a time when all the political parties of Scotland are trying to establish a persuasive vision of the nation, inquiry into where ethnic and racial minorities fit into these debates provides one understudied means of bridging literatures on multinationalism and multiculturalism. Focusing especially on the lesser known question of how elite political actors are positioning minorities within projects of nation-building, this paper draws upon original empirical data in which three predominant clusters emerge. The first centres on an aspirational pluralism, in so far as political elites are less inclined – in contrast to counterparts in some other minority nations – to place ethnically determined barriers on membership of Scottish nationhood. The second concerns the competing ways in which the legacy of Scotland’s place in the British Empire is appropriated by actors of different political hues, and so assumes a multiform role. The third cluster points to potential limitations in minority claims-making and recognition, especially in terms of formal multilingualism and corporate multifaithism, something that may partly be explained by the tension between multinationalism and multiculturalism. Taken together, the paper illustrates how elite political actors can play a vital role in ensuring that appeals to nationhood in Scotland can be meaningfully calibrated to include minorities too.