Dardanelli, Paolo (2003) Ideology and Rationality: the Europeanisation of the Scottish National Party. In: UNSPECIFIED, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. (Unpublished)
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This paper deals with the impact of Europeanisation on a regionalist party actor: the Scottish National Party (SNP). In investigates how the party reacted to the UK's membership of the European Union and how it adapted its strategy in pursuing its aim of Scottish self-government. The paper does so on the basis of a comparison over time between the periods 1974-1979 and 1988-1997, during which the party played a crucial role in the politics of Scottish self-government. Each of the two periods culminated in a referendum: in 1979 Scottish self-government was rejected whereas in 1997 it was endorsed. Between the dates of the two referendums the SNP radically changed its perception of the EU and its strategic use of 'Europe' for its political ends. In the first period, the SNP was deeply hostile to the EU and portrayed EU membership as an additional obstacle to the achievement of self-government while in the second period it adopted a very positive attitude towards the EU and recentred its strategy around the objective of achieving 'Independence in Europe'. The party thus underwent a process of Europeanisation from hostility to enthusiasm towards the EU. The paper explains this adaptation and accounts for the consequences that the latter had on the politics of self-government in Scotland. It argues that the party's reaction to Europeanisation can be understood as the result of a complex interaction between ideological beliefs and rational strategic calculations.
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