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date: 13 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The important role of the state in Scottish history since 1918 can be partly explained by historical forces arising from the speed of Scotland's economic development in the nineteenth century and the twentieth-century attempts to deal with the legacies of this process. These problems were too profound to be dealt with by private enterprise; only the mobilization of the resources of the state could eradicate the slums or improve the health of the nation. However, there is a problem in attempting to understand the state in a Scottish context. There is no doubt that sovereignty and authority are located at a United Kingdom level, even in a post-devolution context. Suggestions of Scottish autonomy or semi-independence are cultural or political, rather than constitutional or legal. This article discusses the links between the role of the state and the operation of the Union in Scotland since 1918. Although aspects of this topic – housing, economic development, the regeneration of the Highlands, education – have attracted a great deal of attention, there are big questions that remain to be examined by new research.

Keywords: Scotland, state, United Kingdom, housing, economic development, regeneration, Highlands, education, autonomy, Union

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