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Religion and National IdentityGoverning Scottish Presbyterianism in the Eighteenth Century$
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Alistair Mutch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748699155

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699155.001.0001

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(p.177) Chapter 8 Conclusion
Religion and National Identity

Alistair Mutch

Edinburgh University Press

The examination of religion as a social practice reveals the importance of taken for granted practices of organizing and governance. In the case of the Church of Scotland, these involved mundane practices of detailed record keeping and a form of accountability which emphasised order and structure. These quotidian practices endured when formal theological formulations changed and when belief, as expressed in church membership and attendance, faded. They gave shape to distinctive but taken for granted practices such as the persistence of qualifications in arithmetic in Scottish secondary education. These practices, which are only revealed when thrown into contrast by comparative analysis, may be a significant factor in the shaping of a distinctive national identity. Their enduring nature, when other factors, such as participation in a shared British Empire, have waned in salience, may undergird differences which challenge the project of a united Britain.

Keywords:   Church of Scotland, Religious practice, Taken for granted practice, British identity, British Empire, Scottish Presbyterianism

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