Citizenship After the Nation State (CANS)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Social and Political Science


Citizenship After the Nation State (CANS) examines the multi-level nature of citizenship. The intellectual project seeks to identify the way that individuals define communities of solidarity at different territorial scales (local, regional, state and continental), the perceived importance of government decisions or citizen participation at different levels of government and the conditions under which regional or supra-state communities or policy communities become important sites of citizenship for individuals that might rival the state as the 'natural' site of citizenship. The research contributes directly to debates about the territorial rescaling of political life, as well as feeds into UK debates about the impact of devolution on policy variation and political participation.

CANS will test hypotheses about the impact of independent variables such as territorial identities, government structures and actual/perceived wealth. For example we will test whether stronger regional identity, a regional government that is perceived to be stronger and greater perceived regional wealth make one more likely to identify with a regional community of solidarity or more likely to participate in regional politics. We will explore relationships at the local, regional, state and continental level but our primary focus is the extent to which we can speak of regionalised citizenship. We will employ multi-level methods of analysis, so that we can identify with precision the impact of individual perceptions of, for example, regional legislative competence, and actual regional authority.

The network builds on an existing partnership across five states (Austria, France, Germany, Spain, UK) and brings in new expertise and new country partners (Belgium, Canada, Hungary, Netherlands, Sweden, US). The goal of the network is to submit funding applications to facilitate a cross-national regional-level survey of multi-level citizenship attitudes and behaviour, creating an unprecedented data resource for students and researchers. The network will fund meetings among applicants to identify best practice in regional cross-national surveys, best practice impact and knowledge exchange opportunities and identify state-of-the-art research on specific elements as yet under-explored in the UK political science literature such as cosmopolitan cities and immigration, regional economics and trust.

The network will hold a PhD summer school with participants from the eleven partner countries (and two from the UK). Each student will be paired with an academic from another institution, facilitating a year-long mentoring relationship that will encourage greater use of the existing CANS dataset, related discrete datasets and will result in a showcase summer school in which students may present their research findings and build networks among their peers.

Planned Impact

CANS has two main communities in which impact will be won. The first is the policy community - civil servants and elected representatives, along with intermediary bodies like the quality media and think tanks which help shape policy debate. Our dataset will offer to the policy community in each of our regions data about support for policy variation, for policy control over specific fields at different territorial levels and more broadly about public evaluations of the regional system of government. Such a dataset offers to the policy community unprecedented data about the expectations of government at different territorial scales and the trust or efficacy gaps that may exist. In addition, it will help policymakers and opinion formers to understand where citizen expectations deviate significantly from 'average' expectations and when they are operating within a devolution paradox gap (ie when large numbers of citizens want regional control over policy but do not want policy variation). Understanding citizen expectations about the ideal roles and responsibilities of different levels of government, as well as the baseline support enjoyed by them, is important for policy communities. Within the UK, it will provide essential background to the constitutional reform debates and processes surrounding the scope of regional government that exist in many of our case study regions.

Second, the CANS network, to be funded by an International Partnership and Networking grant, will impact the academic community and early-career researchers. We have created an impact and knowledge exchange committee within our network to ensure that the large grant applications we produce will build opportunities for knowledge exchange and impact into the design, conduct and dissemination of the project. Here we are interested to determine whether organisations such as IRPP (which partially funded CANS data collection in England) or the Forum of Federations will sponsor user events to ensure civil servants are made aware of the findings and dataset.

For additional details about impact please consult the Pathways to Impact document.


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Description This grant is to manage an international network of scholars to submit future funding bids for new fieldwork, to progress an intellectual research agenda on multi-level citizenship and provide training, data and mentoring to early career academics. Thus far we have pursued the intellectual agenda through a large comparative monograph, and three reports on multi-level and regional citizenship in the UK (focussing on England). Team members have also produced several journal articles, book chapters and conference papers. We planned a summer school for summer 2015 but this was cancelled by the Scottish Graduate School for the Social Sciences because it did not meet the minimum threshold for numbers.
Exploitation Route Our research findings are of relevance to scholars on territorial politics, citizenship, regionalism and nationalism as well as methodologists and comparative survey experts.
Sectors Education

Description The grant was designed to generate academic research and to bring together an international network to outline a research agenda and facilitate a large funding application. The grant has funded several meetings of partners: initial meeting of all partners in Madrid December 2014 meeting in Edinburgh March 2015 meeting in Edinburgh Our 8-12 June 2015 Summer School on Multilevel Citizenship - summer school for postgraduate researchers run by CANS network members - was cancelled by the Scottish Graduate School in the Social Sciences. Morning sessions had included seminars led by CANS academics and student presentations. Afternoon sessions were to have included lab sessions with CANS academics so that student can learn how to analyse CANS and other related data on multi-level citizenship. Due to positive publicity for the project we have expanded the team to include: AJ Brown, Griffiths University, Australia Robert Lineira, Edinburgh, UK Jordi Munoz, Pompeu Fabra, Spain Please note, the grant was suspended due to the PI's maternity leave. This has affected deadlines. Part5 of the team (Henderson, Jeffery, Wincott and Wyn JOnes) have collaborated on various iterations of the Future of England Survey. The findings for this grant have been presented to policy makers and political parties. Most recently we presented findings at the autumn 2015 party conferences of the Labour and Conservative parties.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Policy & public services

Description Invitations to share research with Scotland Office
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The Scotland Office have twice sought information from me about the existing state of public attitudes as well as advice in terms of how to conduct future research on attitudes. I provided them with a presentation as well as copies of reports on public opinion in Scotland and the rest of the UK before and after the 2014 independence referendum.
Description Future of the UK and Scotland
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2014 
End 03/2016
Description Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Amount $99,000 (CAD)
Organisation Government of Canada 
Department SSHRC - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Sector Public
Country Canada
Start 01/2015 
End 12/2017
Description Provincial Diversity Project 
Organisation Concordia University
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Ailsa Henderson and Antoine Bilodeau (both network partners of the CANS grant) are working with two other Canadian colleagues on the Provincial Diversity Project, which is exploring CANS themes in a Canadian setting.
Collaborator Contribution Seed funding has been provided by Concordia University, government ministries and other academic funds. This facilitated fieldwork for a survey of 10000 Canadians last year. The data are currently being analysed and conference papers generated.
Impact Dataset Conference paper abstracts submitted Draft article on attitudes to bilingualism and diversity by region
Start Year 2010
Description Chapter in 'Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box' reported in Telegraph - 19 December 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact My chapter in 'Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box' was quoted in a Telegraph article, 'Scotland and England: How different are they really?'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
Description Presentation of data to SNP party conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation of ESRC-funded research data to fringe event at SNP party conference, March 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description Press release on English constitutional preferences quoted extensively in the national media - 11 December 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release resulting from the Future of England Survey resulted in coverage in the Mail, Herald, Wales online, Scotsman, Western Morning News and a PA report syndicated extensively in the local and regional press.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014