Building the ship in dry dock: The case for pre-independence constitution-building in Scotland

W. Elliot Bulmer (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
120 Downloads (Pure)


For newly independent states, constitution-building can be a defining moment: a time when national identities are asserted, values and norms articulated, and founding myths created. The constitution-building process is a critical juncture between the divergent paths of stable and well-functioning democracy, on one hand, or persistent instability, coups, repression, and state failure, on the other. But what is the proper relationship of constitution-building to state formation? Should constitution-building occur before or after state formation? Or should the two processes somehow proceed in parallel? To address these questions in a Scottish context, this article draws on state-formation and constitution-building processes in the Westminster-derived tradition. The article considers the advantages and disadvantages of these sequences, and discusses the circumstances in which they might be applicable. It concludes by making some tentative recommendations for a pre-independence constitution-building process in Scotland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-694
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Political Science Review
Issue number5
Early online date1 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Commonwealth
  • constituent assembly
  • Constitution-building
  • Scottish independence
  • sequencing
  • state formation


Dive into the research topics of 'Building the ship in dry dock: The case for pre-independence constitution-building in Scotland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this