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Title: Old tunes for new times : contemporary Scottish nationalism and the folk music revival
Author: McKinney, Rebecca
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis examines the complex of relationships between the contemporary drive for Scottish self-determination and the performance of Scottish folk and traditional music. The central argument of this work revolves around A.P. Cohen's (1996) notion of personal nationalism, which posits that individuals make the concepts of nation and nationalism relevant to themselves through daily experience and practice. Rather than examining or attempting to define Scottish nationalism as an internally homogeneous movement, this thesis focuses upon the ways in which various types of nationalist sentiment are created, expressed, and shaped through a particular form of cultural performance. Thus it is argued that there are numerous types of nationalism in Scotland, ranging from the Scottish National Party's explicit calls for political independence to artistic and cultural expressions of "Scottishness" which may or may not be directly connected to specific party-political objectives. As an ethnographic study of largely amateur folk music performers in Edinburgh, this work examining the role of music and musical performance in everyday life. It argues that, for these individuals, music and music-making are central in the formation of a sense of both personal and social identity. Through the performance of music which is symbolically linked to aspects of Scottish history, geography, cultural tradition and language, these performers see themselves to be performing aspects of Scottishness: a national identity which cannot be objectively defined but which is continually shaped and re-shaped through cultural practice. The Scottish musical traditions are discussed as ones which the musicians perceive to be still "living" and changing, rather than as historical artefacts to be preserved. This thesis draws upon the interdisciplinary studies of contemporary Scottish politics, society, and culture and, based upon fieldwork conducted from August 1996-October 1997, is historically situated in a time of political change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available