This introduction presents the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. There is a lively interest in Scottish politics at the present time. Although the country has long had administrative devolution and distinctiveness in certain aspects of political, public and professional life, the visibility of Scottish politics became much more pronounced from the late 1990s among scholars, students and the general public. Gillian Fyfe and Karen Johnston assess the position of gender equality and representation in Scottish politics and public policy, specifically examining gender inclusion and exclusion in devolved institutions and addressing participation and mainstreaming of equality in the policy process. Richard Parry analyses the civil service in terms of Scottish practices and wider UK institutional norms, similarities in Scotland to UK practices and structures, and the embedding of such within devolution legislation and the SNP government's compatibility of policy initiatives within these arrangements.