Cultural aspects Of Europeanization: the case of the Scottish Office

James Smith

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This article takes an in-depth look at the cultural implications of membership of the European Union (EU) for a UK government department. As part of a broader examination of how Europeanization, in its various forms, has affected a range of Whitehall departments, Bulmer and Burch (1998) concluded that the cultural element of change in the UK has been limited in the sense that existing administrative traditions within government departments have not undergone any radical reorientation. The purpose here is to test the validity of these conclusions and in more general terms afford detailed consideration to an area of Europeanization which has tended to be neglected in the academic discourse. This is achieved by way of employing interview and documentary-based source material relating to the area of cultural change as it affected a particular UK department, the Scottish Office. In the event, the piece concludes that the detail of the Scottish Office case can be used to confirm Bulmer and Burch’s general observation that cultural Europeanization has not manifested itself to any great extent within UK government departments in the sense that it has entailed wide-reaching changes to administrative approaches and working practices. More generally, the empirical basis of the analysis provides fresh insights into how specific matters, such as training and secondments, have impacted upon the work of civil servants in the UK.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Administration
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2001


  • Scotland
  • civil service
  • Europeanization
  • EU


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