Professor Michael Keating

Professor Michael Keating
Professor Michael Keating

Professor Michael Keating

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

Chair in Scottish Politics


School of Social Sciences Dunbar Street Aberdeen AB24 3EN mobile 07758 329 876 from outside UK +44 7758 329 876


Michael Keating has a BA/MA from the University of Oxford and in 1975 was the first PhD graduate from what is now Glasgow Caledonian University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; the British Academy; the Academia Europea; and the Academy of Social Sciences and speaks English, French, Spanish and Italian

Michael's research interests include comparative European politics, territorial politics and nationalism. His recent books include The Independence of Scotland (2009), Rescaling the European State (2013), State and Nation in the United Kingdom: The Fractured Union (2021) and the edited volumes Debating Scotland (2017) and The Oxford Handbook of Scottish Politics (2020), all from Oxford University Press. Methods and Approaches in Social Sciences with Donatella della Porta (Cambridge University Press, 2008) is a widely adopted text for PhD researchers.  The Crisis of Social Democracy in Europe (Edinburgh University Press, 2013), was edited with David McCrone.

Michael has worked at the University of Essex, North Staffordshire Polytechnic and the University of Strathclyde, the University of Western Ontario and the European University Institute, Florence, including a term as head of department. 

He has a longstanding interest in the application of academic knowledge to policy making. From 2013 to 2020 he was Director of the Centre on Constitutional Change, leading collaborative projects on the Scottish independence and Brexit referendums. He and his colleagues have worked extensively with officials and ministers of the UK and Scottish governments and with the Scottish and Welsh Parliament, House of Commons, House of Lords and European Parliament and organized numerous public meetings, while remaining politically impartial. He has engages widely with the UK and international media.

He is research professor at Aberdeen, funded by a European grant on differentiated integration in the EU and leading a section on external association with the EU.


  • BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics 
    1971 - University of Oxford 
  • PhD Politics 
    1975 - Glasgow Caledonian University 
  • Incorporated Linguist French 
    1981 - Institute of Linguists 
  • Doctorat Honoris Causa social science 
    2010 - University Louvain la Neuve 
  • Doctorat Honoris Causa social science 
    2010 - University Louvain la Neuve 

External Memberships

Convenor, Social Science Section, Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Member of Social Science Section Committee, Academia Europea.

Member of the Council of the British Academy, 2015-18.

Co-founder and co-director, Scottish Policy Innovation Forum. Member of ESRC Peer Review College; 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, 2012-19

Co-editor book series, Comparative Territorial Politics, Palgrave, 2011-19.

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.


Research Overview

Michael Keating's interests include European politics, nationalism, public policy, urban and regional politics and society, and social science methodologies. In 2013 he completed a large project on Rescaling Europe and is currently working on constitutional change in the United Kingdom in the context of Brexit. He has also been working to improve the interface between academics and practitioners in the field of public policy in Scotland and beyond and is independent of any government.

Research Areas

Politics and International Relations

Research Specialisms

  • European Union Politics
  • Nationalism

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

I have several axes of research currently:

1. Constitutional Futures for the United Kingdom. Within the Centre on Constitutional Change,  I have led a number of ESRC-funded projects on the Scottish indepence issue and more recently on the impact of Brexit on the nations and regions of the United Kingdom. Between 2017 and 2020 I am leading an ESRC-funded project on Between Two Unions. The constitutional challenge in the UK and Ireland after Brexit. This work has already produced Michael Keating and Malcolm Harvey, Small Nations in a Big World. What Scotland Can Learn (Luath) published in English in three editions and in Catalan; Michael Keating (ed.), Debating Scotland (Oxford University Press, 2017), Michael Keating (ed.)  A Fairer, Wealthier Scotland (Edinburgh University Press, 2017); Harald Baldersheim and Michael Keating (eds), Small States in the Modern World (Edward Elgar, 2015; and Michael Keating, State and Nation in the United Kingdom: The Fractured Union (Oxford University Press, 2021)). I edited the Oxford Handbook of Scottish Politics (Oxford Universty Press, 2020). 

I am a partner in a Horizon 2020 project based at the European University Institute, on Differentiated Integration in Europe. Within this, I lead a team examining 'external differentiation'. My own individual part concerns the nations of the UK after Brexit.

2. Rescaling Europe. This examines the transformation of territory across five dimensions: historical, functional, institutional, political and normative. A monograph, Rescaling the European State,  was published by Oxford University Press in October 2013. There are also articles in Journal of European Public Policy (24.4 (2017) and Regional Studies (51.1 (2017).

One element of this concerns the territoralization of interest representation, 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. This produced a special issue of Territory, Politics, Governance (2.3 (2014) and an article in European Journal of Political Research (53.4 (2014).

As partner in a Horizon 2020 project based at Aberystwyth and Stirling universities, I am working on decentralization and social equality policies

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. The edited book A Wealthier, Fairer Scotland (Edinburgh University Press, 2017) was based on our work around the Scottish independence referendum, examining what Scotland could do with existing or enhanced powers. 

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.

Knowledge Exchange

Since 2013 I have give over 600 interviews to media outlets in the UK and beyond, in English, Spanish, Frencn and Italian.

I recent years, I have worked on constitutional issues with the Scottish and UK Governments (Cabinet Office, Treasur, Foreign Office, Department of Business, Enterprise and Skills, Department of Work and Pensions). I have given evidence to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Senedd, House of Commons, House of Lords and European Parliament. This activity peaked during the Scottish independence and Brexit referendums, when the Centre on Constitutional Change played a role in providing impartial analysis of both sides of the debates. We also had an intensive progamme of public meetings across Scotland and beyond. I have also addressed the Spanish and Basque Parliaments on constitutional questions in the UK and Brexit. 


I have supervised some 36 PhD theses and examined another 76, in English, French, Spanish and German. 

Funding and Grants

ESRC Professorial Fellowship 2010-13. ESRC Follow-On grant, 2009-10. ESRC Senior Fellowship, 2013-14; 2015-17. ESRC Major Grant for Scottish Centre for Constitutional Change, 2013-15. ESRC Large Grant for project Between Two Unions, 2017-21.


Teaching Responsibilities



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  • A Wealthier, Fairer Scotland: The Political Economy of Constitutional Change

    Keating, M. (ed.)
    Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Constitutional Politics and the Territorial Question in Canada and the United Kingdom: Federalism and Devolution Compared

    Keating, M. J. (ed.), Laforest, G. (ed.)
    Palgrave Macmillan
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Debating Scotland: Issues of Independence and Union in the 2014 Referendum

    Keating, M. J. (ed.)
    Oxford University Press. 226 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Solving the problem of social background in the UK ‘political class': Do parties do things differently in Westminster, devolved and European elections?’

    Cairney, P., Keating, M., Wilson, A.
    British Politics, vol. 11, pp. 142-163
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Why no federalism in the United Kingdom?

    Keating, M.
    Understanding Federalism and Federation. 1st edition. Taylor and Francis, pp. 177-191, 15 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • The European Dimension to Scottish Constitutional Change

    Keating, M.
    Political Quarterly, vol. 86, no. 2, pp. 201-208
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • The Scottish independence referendum and after

    Keating, M.
    Revista d'Estudis Autonomics i Federals, vol. 21, pp. 73-98
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Territorial autonomy in nationally divided societies: the experience of the United Kingdom, Spain, and Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Keating, M.
    Territorial Pluralism. McGarry, J., Simeon, R., Basta, K. (eds.). University of British Columbia Press, pp. 121-147, 27 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Petites nacions en un món que es fa gran: El que Escòcia pot aprendre

    Keating, M., Harvey, M.
    Institut d'Estudis Autonomics, Barcelona. 193 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Small States in the Modern World: Vulnerabilities and Opportunities

    Baldersheim, H. (ed.), Keating, M. (ed.)
    Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham. 274 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals

Working Papers and Discussion Papers