Social Identity and Spatial Behaviour: The Relationship between National Category Salience, the Sense of Home, and Labour Mobility across National Boundaries

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Abstract

This study explores the impact of manipulating the salience of national categories upon the willingness of highly identifying Scots to take up either short-term or long-term jobs in Scotland as compared to England. The results support the hypotheses (a) that high-identifying Scots increase preference for intra- over extranational locations when national categories are salient, (b) that this effect is fully mediated by “fitting in”—that is, the sense of being “at home” in Scottish as compared to English locations, and (c) that these relationships only hold for long-term as opposed to short-term jobs. We discuss these results in terms of the impact of identity definitions upon spatialised action and the economic/political importance of this relationship.

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