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Title: Historiography of Picts, Vikings, Scots, and Fairies and its influence on Shetland's twenty-first century economic development
Author: Grydehøj, Adam
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 5855
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2009
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Making use of knowledge from a wide range of disciplines, this thesis analyses the interactions of culture and economy, particularly regarding the influence of nineteenthcentury historiography, on Shetland’s present-day economic development. Shetland’s local identity concept is strongly influenced by this North Sea archipelago’s Norse history. This is in part the result of the islands’ late nineteenth- and early twentiethcentury national romantic literature, which was inspired by Continental and mainland British trends in anthropology and philology. The theories of fairy origins proposed in the 1890s by the Edinburgh anthropologist David MacRitchie exerted a great influence on Shetland writers. His theories – since shown to be incorrect – led to the historiographic dehumanisation of the islands’ pre-Norse population and permitted the complete valorisation of the Vikings, most notably in the work of the Shetland author Jessie Saxby. Since the 1930s, a variation of MacRitchie’s theory has been repeated in nearly every local book concerning Shetland folk belief. These conceptions of history continue to inform the sense of local identity felt by many Shetlanders. This has come into conflict with the local government’s efforts at place brand, tourism, heritage, and economic development, all of which tie into a broader struggle between fostering Shetland’s national awareness and expanding Shetland’s jurisdictional capacity. Particular attention is paid to how history is used variously by the community to express exclusivity and by the local government to promote inclusivity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Shetland (Scotland) ; Nationalism ; Tourism ; Folklore