Professor Michael Keating

Professor Michael Keating
MA, PhD, FBA, FRSE, AcSS, Doctorat hons.,MAE

Chair in Scottish Politics

Professor Michael Keating
Professor Michael Keating

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272770
The University of Aberdeen School of Social Sciences Dunbar Street Aberdeen AB24 3EN mobile 07758 329 876 from outside UK +44 7758 329 876

Centre on Constitutional Change


Michael Keating 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 speaks English, French, Spanish and Italian. He has a doctorate honoris causa from the University of Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; of the British Academy; of the Academia Europea; and of  the Academy of Social Sciences.

Michael's research interests include comparative European politics, territorial politics and nationalism. Recent publications include The Independence of Scotland (Oxford University Press, 2009), Rescaling the European State (Oxford University Press, 2013) and the edited  volumes Debating Scotland (Oxford University Press, 2017)  A Wealthier, Fairer Scotland (Edinburgh University Press, 2017) and The Oxford Handbook of Scottish Politics (2020). He has worked with Donatella della Porta on research methods, producing Methods and Approaches in Social Sciences (Cambridge University Press, 2008) which includes  a plea for methdological pluralism. The Crisis of Social Democracy in Europe (Edinburgh University Press, 2013), edited with David McCrone, considers why European social democracy has not revived following the global financial crisis. 

Michael has worked 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, followed by ten years  at the European University Institute, Florence where he was head of department for three years. 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, a inter-university consortium of researchers which has received funding from the Economic and Social Science Research Council and the EU Horizon 2020 programme..


Research Interests

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.

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); and Harald Baldersheim and Michael Keating (eds), Small States in the Modern World (Edward Elgar, 2015).

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.

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


Further Info

External Responsibilities

Member of the Council of the British Academy.

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-

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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  • Keating, M 2019, 'Brexit and the Nations', Political Quarterly, vol. 90, no. S2, pp. 167-176. [Online] DOI:
  • Keating, M 2018, 'Brexit and the Territorial Constitution of the United Kingdom', Droit et Société, vol. 2018/1, no. 98, pp. 53-69. <> [Online] DOI:
  • Keating, MJ 2018, The United Kingdom's Evolving Constitution. in P Requejo (ed.), La Evolución de los Modelos Territoriales: Reformulación versus Ruptura. vol. 10, Fundamentos, Junta General del Principado de Asturias, Oviedo, pp. 157-182.
  • Keating, M (ed.) 2017, A Wealthier, Fairer Scotland: The Political Economy of Constitutional Change. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
  • Keating, M 2017, 'Brexit and Devolution in the United Kingdom', Politics and Governance, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 1-3. [Online] DOI:
  • Keating, MJ & Laforest, G (eds) 2017, Constitutional Politics and the Territorial Question in Canada and the United Kingdom: Federalism and Devolution Compared. Palgrave Macmillan .
  • Keating, M 2017, 'Contesting European Regions', Regional Studies, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 9-18. [Online] DOI:
  • Keating, MJ (ed.) 2017, Debating Scotland: Issues of Independence and Union in the 2014 Referendum. Oxford University Press.
  • Keating, M 2017, 'Europe as a multilevel federation', Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 615-632. [Online] DOI:
  • Keating, M 2017, The Territorial State. in D King & P Le Galès (eds), Reconfiguring European States in Crisis., 6, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 121-136. [Online] DOI:
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