Beyond Appearances: Negotiating Disclosure and Policies on Diversity in Scotland and South Tyrol

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Marcus Nicolson and Andrea Carlà

Addressing diversity (whether cultural, racial, religious, or linguistic) is an issue faced not only by nation-states, but also by regions and sub-national entities. In this regard, such a challenge is well epitomized by Scotland, with its civic nationalist claims, and South Tyrol, an Italian autonomous province with German and Ladin-speaking minorities and a sophisticated system to protect them. Both areas have become destinations for migrants, who represent both 9% of the Scottish population and 9% of South Tyrolean population. Scotland and South Tyrol present interesting case studies within which to explore discourses and policies on diversity and their influence on individuals and wider society.

Scottish nationalism has been described as a civic and inclusive form of nationalism. The governing Scottish National Party (SNP) has long-claimed that Scotland is “open, welcoming and outward looking” and have emphasised that Scottish national identity is open to anyone who wishes to claim it. The ‘One Scotland, Many Cultures’ campaign developed by the Scottish National Party can be viewed as exemplary of the civic nationalism that the Scottish Government have endeavoured to promote with an ideology that anyone living in the country can claim Scottish identity whilst simultaneously pursuing the campaign for Scottish independence. Scotland has a growing ethnic minority population and Glasgow is Scotland’s most diverse city. City branding, including the motto ‘People Make Glasgow’, has been used to promote a narrative of inclusion. However, previous research has identified a divergence between political attitudes towards immigration and those of the general population, who are not so inclusive in their views toward migrant groups. Most Scottish people continue to define Scottish citizenship based on birthplace and ancestry.

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