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Title: Homecomings : genealogy, heritage-tourism & identity in the Scottish Highland diaspora
Author: Basu, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0001 3450 5830
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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This work is concerned with the processes through which members of diasporic communities, construct and negotiate aspects of their identities in relation to perceived ancestral homelands. Addressing a central paradox of globalization-the contrary movement towards localization-I examine the role of place, belonging and territorial attachment in an age often characterized by placelessness, mobility and deterritorialization. More particularly, the thesis explores flows of people, images, objects, ideas, symbols and stories within a posited Scottish diaspora, focusing on journeys made by people who claim Scottish Highland descent ordinarily living in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other regions in which Scottish migrants have historically settled, to the Scottish Highlands and Islands, pursuing genealogical research and seeking out places associated with their ancestors. Many such travellers define their journeys, contra tourism, as homecomings, quests and pilgrimages: I interrogate these assertions, considering in what ways these secular practices may be regarded as sacred acts. Through the agency of these genealogical 'journeys of discovery', I suggest that individuals are able to construct meaningful, morally-defensible and 'authentic' self-narratives from the ambiguities and discontinuities of their migrant histories, thus recovering a sense of being 'at home' in the 'maelstrom' of modernity. It is ironic that such localizing strategies are often enabled through globalizing technologies such as the internet, and, indeed, it is through the global mediascape that the Highland homeland is 'imagineered' in diasporan consciousness. I consider the relationship between these discursive realms and the material realms of the homeland, arguing that, whilst the two are inseparable, it is ultimately the phenomenological encounter with the material landscape of the Scottish Highlands and Islands that confers substance to the heritage-tourists' identity claims. The research is based on fieldwork conducted throughout the Scottish Highlands and Islands and among online Scottish heritage communities between 1998 and 2001.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anthropology