Loughborough University
Thesis-2017-Whigham.pdf (4.65 MB)

Scotland's future and 2014: political narratives of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the independence referendum

Download (4.65 MB)
posted on 2017-02-06, 14:29 authored by Stuart Whigham
This thesis critically examines the predominant narratives which emanated from political discourse in relation to two significant events in Scotland in 2014 the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the independence referendum. In particular, the thesis scrutinises the extent to which the staging of the Games in Scotland was exploited politically in relation to debates about Scotland s constitutional future. Given the importance of the referendum and its proximity to the Games, it is unsurprising that the event became intertwined with political positioning from parties on both sides of the constitutional debate. Utilising a novel methodological approach which synthesises analytical frameworks from the field of narrative analysis (Somers, 1994) and political discourse analysis (Fairclough and Fairclough, 2014), this thesis critically examines a range of political discourse sources produced by the five political parties represented in the Scottish Parliament, such as parliamentary speeches, press releases, manifestos and policy documents. Furthermore, the analysis of political discourse is complemented by analysis of nine interviews with MSPs from the respective political parties, namely the Scottish National Party, the Scottish Labour Party, the Scottish Conservatives, the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Green Party. The findings of these complementary analyses are further interrogated through reference to existing academic literature on the relationship between nationalism, politics, sport and international sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games. The thesis identifies a number of emergent findings which make an original contribution to the study of the interconnection between sport, political nationalism and the Commonwealth Games, demonstrating the nuanced and contrasting narratives of the respective pro-independence and pro-union parties with respect to Scotland s constitutional future and the political ramifications of the Games for the independence referendum. These nuanced positions are demonstrated through consideration of: a) the contrasting narratives of the parties on the Games sporting and economic legacy; b) the political symbolism of the Games for Scotland s constitutional status; c) discourse asserting that the Games should remain an apolitical event; d) the nature of cross-party consensus supporting the Games; and, e) the role of the Games and sport in contemporary political communication. Given the emergence of numerous examples within this thesis whereby the Games became embroiled with political considerations, it is hoped that the prevailing political perceptions regarding the apolitical nature of sport can be challenged, thus allowing for a more diverse array of ideological approaches to the politics of sport.





  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Stuart Whigham

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


  • en