Presentation on theme: "JENNY FLINN, AARON MCINTOSH AND DANIEL TURNER DIVISION OF CULTURAL BUSINESS GLASGOW CALEDONIAN UNIVERSITY Diasporic Identity Across Time and Space: Constructing."— Presentation transcript:
JENNY FLINN, AARON MCINTOSH AND DANIEL TURNER DIVISION OF CULTURAL BUSINESS GLASGOW CALEDONIAN UNIVERSITY Diasporic Identity Across Time and Space: Constructing Scottish Cultural Identities and the Long Island Highland Games
Locating and Creating Identity in a Global World ‘modernity constitutes a very much more transitory experience than anything which may have preceded it’ (Miles, 2001:145) ‘All that is solid melts into air’ (Marx and Engels, in Rojek, 1995) ‘People’s identities appear, from one point of view to be liberated by modernity. Their identities are now ascribed, not prescribed. But there is a price to pay for such liberation and that price is risk and uncertainty.’(Miles, 2001:145) 2 options – seek solace in the past (traditions), abandon yourself to maelstrom of post-modern identity creation. This ‘rootlessness’ particularly evident in diasporic communities, the living ‘culture clash’.
Understanding culture clashes 4 key approaches to conceptualising culture clashes Touristic consumption – physical manifestation of ‘US’ to ‘THEM’ – our tourism visits force transformation of the host culture via processes of commodification (see Greenwood, 1977; Jackson 1999; Xie, 2003) – ‘eating the other’ (Hooks, 1992 in Jackson, 1999) Cultural imperialism via iconography – cultural manifestation of ‘US’ to ‘THEM’ – global mediatisation of Western cultural products impacting upon the recipient ‘other’ (see Saldanha, 2002; Steger, 2003) Arriving diasporas – physical manifestation of ‘THEM’ to ‘US’ – impacts of worldwide diasporas integrating (or not) into UK culture (see Weedon, 2004; Skelton and Valentine, 1998; Bennett and Kahn-Harris, 2004) Cultural Infiltration via iconography – cultural manifestation of ‘THEM’ to ‘US’ – impact of other cultural products (typically African American diasporic forms e.g. hip hop) upon UK culture (see Nayak, 2004; Bennett, 1999) However: analyses remain rooted in a fixed, colonial and ultimately oppositional view of cultural globalisation. ‘US’ and ‘THEM’ = ‘Coloniser’ and ‘Colonised’ What about competing claims for ‘ownership’ of the same cultural perspective? What about ‘US’ to ‘US’?
The Long Island Highland Games Annual event hosted in Long Island by the ‘Scottish Clan McDuff’ Combination of open highland competition, Scots music, heritage tracing and other non- traditional events spectators Visit to 48 th Long Island Games (August 2008) Interviews with Games Chief, Clan Leaders on site ‘Vox pop’ interviews with spectators On site observations
Contemporary Scotland, the Diaspora and Highland Games Scottish political-economic desire to develop a cosmopolitan identity to tap US markets using Scots diaspora as entry point. Creation of new events such as ‘NY Tartan Week’ Contrast with diaspora’s own use of traditional Scottish events and festivals as collective cultural reference point Long Island Highland Games How do these traditional communities and their events influence the development of the ‘new Scotland’ identity in the US?
Gatekeepers of Scotland Diasporia as the ‘gatekeepers’ of Scottish identity in US We publish a journal four times a year, it goes to all of our members. We do a state newsletter in New York state and it goes to all of the members in the state and some people in the wider tri-state area (Clan Campbell State Commissioner) We like to get people involved in Scottish heritage. We travel around the tri-state area promoting it (New York Caledonian Club) Key conduit for the transmission of ‘Scottishness’ to wider American populace we don’t differentiate, we have a classification ‘friend of Scotland’ so if you just want to be a member you can Some members have no Scottish links at all, they’re just interested, have visited Scotland. The secretary of the club is Jewish, he visited with his kids and came back and joined the club.
Closing the Gate? But rooted to romanticised concept of Scotland – tartanry and kailyardism (McCrone et al, 1995) We have burns suppers, we teach Scottish gaelic, have bagpipe lessons, highland dancing – we get involved in the whole culture Kailyardism forms a distinction for the diaspora in the new world and so resistant to losing this identity to the globalism of New Scotland In New York everyone’s got their piece of the apple and I just wanted to see if there was anything to do with Scotland… everyone’s searching for something in America I grew up during the depression and I remember my mother making fried oatmeal at dinner time, she used to put fried onions and things in it. I remember telling people ‘we’re so poor that we have fried oatmeal’. Then one day my wife bought me a scottish cookbook and there was a recipe for fried oatmeal! It wasn’t because we were poor it was just a Scottish dish!
Competing Scotlands Cosmopolitanism Global destination city Multi-cultural and open Technological and cutting edge Brigadoon and Braveheart Heritage and Tradition Victorian ‘Cult of the Highlands’ (Hobsbawn and Ranger, 1992)
Conclusions and Implications New Scotland message can’t be expected to succeed in overtaking Kailyardism until the ‘gatekeepers’ have gone. ‘The problem with Scotland is that there are too many Scots!’ BUT: Kailyardism is Scotland to the wider world ‘I would imagine there are men running all over with kilts’ I got to try haggis which I love! It think they’re attracted by the history, you know stories like Rob Roy... There’s the whole mystique about Scotland and the tartans ‘New’ Scotland as an empty identity has no ‘hook’, no ‘difference’ – how can a message of ‘we’re just like the rest of the world’ be heard over the rest of the world? When you’re back in Scotland it’s ‘ach we’re here, that’s it!