TODAY WE ARE ALL SCOTTISH: PERFORMANCES OF SELF, COMMUNITY, AND NATION AT HIGHLAND GAMES AND GATHERINGS
Meer, Laurie A
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In this dissertation, I analyze the complicated history and markers of cultural identity, as well as the sometimes-diverse performances of Scotland and Scottishness. I have documented that although Scottish symbols carry centuries of meaning, they have not endured without reinventions and struggle. Whether they are seen in Scotland or at Highland Games and Gatherings in the United States, and regardless of the traditions' "inventedness," "selectivity," or contested status, their interaction and dialogism work to represent the unique history and heritage of Scottish national cultural identity in local communities and in the overseas marketing campaigns for a growing and essential tourism industry. This dissertation examines the factors that draw together thousands of people who proudly proclaim (or seek) their Scottish heritage in a variety of performances, rituals and festivities. I examine how popular markers of Scottish heritage, such as bagpipe playing, kilt wearing, and clan affiliation transform when they change locations and cross borders. I ask if the "Wearing of the Tartan" changes meaning when it shifts locations, and I investigate how issues of shared heritage, genealogy, and membership are interpreted and enacted in a global Scottish community.