Publication details [#56978]

Unger, Johann Wolfgang. 2013. Rebranding the Scottish Executive: A discourse-historical analysis. Journal of Language and Politics 12 (1) : 59–79.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This article examines the change in name of the devolved governing body of Scotland from the Scottish Executive (1999–2007) to the Scottish Government (2007-present) following the majority result for the Scottish National Party in the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections. In the wider European political landscape this is unusual: while ministries, departments and even political parties change their names relatively frequently, the same cannot be said for top-level political institutions. This paper investigates this discursive act of “rebranding” from a discourse-historical perspective (see Reisigl & Wodak 2009). In addition to critical analysis of various texts about the act of rebranding itself (media reports, political speeches and parliamentary debates, policy documents), the historical, cultural and political contexts are examined in relation to the wider significance of this move for top-down Scottish national identity construction. Keywords: discourse-historical approach; national identity; political branding; Scottish Government; Scottish National Party; Scottish Parliament