Professor Michael Keating

Chair in Scottish Politics

MA, PhD, FBA, FRSE, AcSS, Doctorat hons.,MAE

Professor Michael Keating

Contact Details

Telephone: +44 (0)1224 272179
Address: School of Social Sciences Dunbar Street Aberdeen AB24 3EN mobile 07758 329 876 from outside UK +44 7758 329 876


Michael Keating was born in 1950, graduated from the University of Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1971 and in 1975 was the first PhD graduate from what is now  Glasgow Caledonian University. He received the qualification of Incorporated Linguist (Institute of Linguists) in 1981 and has a doctorate honoris causa from the Facultés Universitaires Catholiques de Mons (Belgium). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; of the British Academy; of the Academia Europea; and of  the Academy of Social Sciences.

He has researched and taught at the University of Essex (1975-6), North Staffordshire Polytechnic (1976-9) and the University of Strathclyde (1979-88). From 1988 until 1999 he was Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario. From 2000 until 2010 he was Professor of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute, Florence and was head of department between 2004 and 2007.

He has held visiting positions at the Institut d'Etudes Politques de Paris; University of Santiago de Compostela; University of the Basque Country; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; the Norwegian Nobel Institute; Nuffield College, Oxford; University of Grenoble; Autonomous University of Barcelona.

He is presently part-time professor at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the Centre on Constitutional Change.  From 2010 until 2013 he was an ESRC Professorial Fellow and in 2013-14 was ESRC Senior Fellow on the Future of the UK and Scotland programme. During 2015-16 he is Senior Fellow in the ESRC UK in a Changing Europe programme.

He is currently director of the  ESRC Centre on Constitutional Change, a consortium of teams from five institutions to examine the issues arising from the Scottish constitutional debate. 

Michael Keating speaks English, French, Spanish and Italian.

Research Interests

Michael Keating's interests include European politics, nationalism, public policy, urban and regional politics and society, and social science methodologies. He has recently completed a large project on Rescaling Europe and is currently working on the issue of Scottish independence. He has also been working to improve the interface between academics and practitioners in the field of public policy in Scotland and beyond. He has advised local governments in Scotland and Canada, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament, the European Commission, OECD/SIGMA, OECD, the German Development Cooperation agency, and the Committee of the Regions on a range of issues, including public policy, devolution and federalism and the management of nationality conflicts.

Current Research

I have several axes of research currently:

1. Constitutional Futures for Scotland. In 2012-13  an ESRC Senior Fellowship has funded a study of the experience of small states in order to draw lessons for Scotland. I am director of the Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change, which in 2013 won a major ESRC grant for an interdisciplinary project on Scottish independence and the future of devolution, with the participation of five institutions.

My book on The Independence of Scotland was published in 2009 by Oxford University Press.

2. Rescaling Europe. This examines the transformation of territory across five dimensions: historical, functional, institutional, political and normative. A monograph, Rescaling the European State, is published by Oxford University Press in October 2013.

3. The territoralization of interest representation. This examines the way in which interest groups are changing their level of activity and their appreciation of functional issues in response to devolution in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Belgium

4. Methodological pluralism. This follows from the book edited with Donatella della Porta on Approaches and Methodologies in the Social Sciences and examines the meaning of pluralism and the possibilities of combining approaches. 

5. Plurinational democracy. This continues an established line of research and examines the conditions for the accommodation of national differences within democratic societies. A book co-edited with Alain Gagnon (Université de Québec à Montréal) on autonomy and the management of diversity appeared with Palgrave in 2012.

6. Public policy in Scotland. A second edition of The Government of Scotland appeared in 2010. I am one of the convenors of the Scottish Policy Innovation Forum, a group of academics and practitioners working on improving the links between academic work and practice.

7. The Future of Social Democracy. With David McCrone (University of Edinburgh) I convene a group of scholars on the future of social democracy in Europe. The Crisis of Social Democracy in Europe appeared from Edinburgh University Press in 2013.

Research Grants

ESRC Professorial Fellowship 2010-13. ESRC Follow-On grant, 2009-10. ESRC Senior Fellowship, 2013-14. ESRC Major Grant for Scottish Centre for Constitutional Change, 2013-15.

Teaching Responsibilities


External Responsibilities

Co-founder and co-director, Scottish Policy Innovation Forum. Member of ESRC Peer Review College. Member, selection committee of iCREA (Catalan research professorships), 2011-; Advisory MIUR (Italian Research ministry).

Member of comité directeur, Centre sur la diversité au Québec (CRIDAQ), 2003-. Member of Comité scientifique, Chaire d’Etudes Québécoises et Canadiennes, Université de Québec à Montréal, 2004-. Member, Consejo Asesor Cátedra de Estudios Internacionacionales, Universidad del País Vasco, 2003-.  Member, international board of Centre on European Governance, Identity and Public Policy, Cardiff University, 2004-.

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Co-editor, Territory, Politics, Governance, 2012-

Co-editor book series, Comparative Territorial Politics, Palgrave, 2011-

Editoral Boards of Environment and Planning c. Government and Policy; Space and Polity; Modern and Contemporary France; Studies; Politique et Sociétés, 1999; Journal of Public Policy; Ethnopolitics; British Politics, 2005; Politika. Revista de ciencias sociales; ECPR Monographs and ECPR Classics; Colección de Estudios Internacionales, Universidad del País Vasco; Revue Fédéralisme Régionalisme, 2007; L'Observatoire de la société britannique, 2008; Perspectives on Federalism (Centro Studi sul Federalismo; Comparative Political Studies; West European Politics; Papeles del CEIC (Centro de Investigaciones sobre la Identidad Colectiva; European Urban and Regional Studies; Revista Española de Ciencia Política.


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