Dr Malcolm Petrie

LLB (Honours) (University of Edinburgh)
Diploma in Legal Practice (University of Aberdeen)
MLitt (University of St Andrews)
PhD (University of St Andrews)

Contact Details

Email: mp49@st-andrews.ac.uk
Telephone - +44 (0)1334 462908
Fax - +44 (0)1334 462914


Research Interests

After completing my PhD at St Andrews in 2014, I spent a year at the University of Edinburgh as an Early Career Fellow before returning to St Andrews as a lecturer in 2016. My research concentrates on the political history of Scotland and Britain in the twentieth century, and especially on the relationship between politicians, their parties, and the public whose votes they desire. In particular, I am fascinated by political language, and the ways in which politicans construct their appeals to the electorate.

I am currently completing a monograph that explores the impact of the arrival of mass democracy, and fears of an upsurge in political extremism, on Scottish politics during the 1920s and 1930s. I am also working on a research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, that examines Scottish politics after 1945, and the continued potency of a strain of anti-statist libertarianism at odds with the commonplace portrayal of Scotland as a left-wing polity. This project will result in a further monograph.




Popular politics and political culture: urban scotland, 1918-1939 (Edinburgh University Press).


'Anti-Socialism, Liberalism and Individualism: Rethinking the Realignment of Scottish Politics, 1945-1970', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 28 (2018), 197-217. Winner of the Royal Historical Society's David Berry Prize, awarded annually to the best essay addressing an aspect of Scottish history.

'"Contests of vital importance": by-elections, the Labour party, and the reshaping of British radicalism, 1924-1929', Historical Journal, 60(1) (2017), 121-48.

'Unity from below? The impact of the Spanish Civil War on Labour and the left in Aberdeen and Dundee, 1936-1939', Labour History Review 79(3) (2014), 305-27.

'Public politics and and traditions of popular protest: demonstrations of the unemployed in Dundee and Edinburgh, c. 1921-1939', Contemporary British History 27(4) (2013), 490-513

Chapter in edited collections

'John MacCormick' in Gerry Hassan and James Mitchell (eds), Scottish National Party leaders (Biteback Publishing, 2016).

'The independence referendum in historical and political context' in Aileen McHarg, Tom Mullen, Alan Page and Neil Walker (eds), The Scottish independence referendum: constitutional and political implications (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Teaching Duties

I co-ordinate MO2008 Scotland, Britain and Empire, and offer the following honours courses:

MO3365 Nationalism and Unionism in Modern Scotland

MO3561 Thatcherism, the new right, and the remaking of British politics, c.1940-1997

I co-ordinate the MLitt in Scottish Historical Studies, and contribure to the MLitt programmes in Modern History and Legal and Constitutional Studies.