Welcome to the digital archive of the Scottish Government Yearbooks, published by the University of Edinburgh's 'Unit for the Study of Government in Scotland' between 1976 and 1992. The Unit was set up in the mid-1970s to address 'Our Changing Scotland' and the certainty – as it seemed at the time – of a devolved Assembly in Edinburgh. The Yearbooks reflect the spirit of that enterprise: contributions cut across academic disciplines … sociology, political science, social policy, history, economics, theology, education, medicine, law. And they spanned a wide range of academic institutions, centred upon – but not limited to – Scotland’s universities. But the Yearbooks went beyond academia to embrace lawyers, journalists, political activists, policy makers, civil servants, public sector managers, local government officers and clerics. Through this rich mix the Yearbooks sought, as the opening volume’s editorial made clear, to engage with a Scotland which was proving to be "a perplexing place".

The Yearbooks provide unparalleled insights into a crucial period in Scotland's political and social development. They bear witness to, and carefully analyse, a Scotland in which a devolved Assembly seemed inevitable, a Scotland where those assumptions were dashed through the referendum of 1979, and a Scotland which rejected Thatcherism but endured its radical shaking of key institutions. The Yearbooks end in 1992, when 'home rule' stood reinvigorated and when the question of devolution was again dominating the Scottish political agenda. As the introduction to that final volume notes there was by then "a real sense of an uncompleted agenda" in, and for, Scotland. To address that agenda the Yearbooks morphed, in 1992, into Scottish Affairs, Scotland's longest running peer-reviewed journal of contemporary Scottish issues. And the Unit developed, briefly, into the Governance of Scotland Forum and from there into the Institute of Governance.

In this archive you can find informed and critical articles on a wide range of topics of high relevance both to Scotland's past and to its future. In light of the 2014 referendum, the third on Scotland's constitutional relationship with/to the United Kingdom, the Institute of Governance felt the time was right to provide the full content of the Yearbooks online to all. Our changing Scotland remains a perplexing place with an uncompleted agenda: here you will find much that helps explain where, in our recent history, we have come from.

Michael Rosie, Director, Institute of Governance, July 2014.

A History of the Yearbooks

You can find out more about the Yearbooks, its foundation by Henry Drucker and its development across the 1970s and 1980s in a blog by David McCrone and Lindsay Paterson here.

The Archive was supported by funds from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social & Political Science, and by the kind assistance of the University’s Library and University Collections. Developed by the Library Digital Development Team

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