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Title: The contemporary role of the kilt and tartan in the construction and expression of Scottish American identity
Author: Maitland Hume, Ian M.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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This study explores how influential the kilt and tartan are in the way Americans perceive and express their identity in Scottish terms. Its principal focus is directed on individuals who wear the kilt in America today. The reasons which prompt people to consider qualifying their American identity are considered in the context of a number of different Scottish American organisations and community activities. These are prefaced by an appraisal of contemporary attitudes to wearing the kilt in Scotland today. An ethnological approach has been adopted to ascertain the role played by these material cultural elements, and in particular the informants' own words are used to illustrate the power these symbols posses to influence the construction of Scottish identity. The changing nature of society is considered as one of the factors contributing to such a need. Tartan and the kilt encapsulate many facets of a heritage which people aspire to access; they may also represent a part-mythical family origin for those seeking roots. They are the apparent visual manifestation of ancient kin links. The author's own observations through participation in some of the activities of the Scottish American community provide further evidence of the significant role played by tartan and kilt in the iteration of Scottish identity by Americans. The remarkable growth in the number of Americans who choose to adopt a Scottish element as part of their identity can be attributed in substantial part to the power these symbols possess.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available