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Branding Scotland, Blanding Scotland

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Examining the hazards embedded in any (contemporary) manifestation of nationalism and the complex layers of national identity which make up modern Scotland.

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Branding Scotland, Blanding Scotland

  1. 1. Contemporary Scottish Visual Culture
  2. 2. Branding Scotland Blanding Scotland
  3. 3. Terms for the Day <ul><li>Identity </li></ul><ul><li>Heritage </li></ul><ul><li>Representation </li></ul><ul><li>Nationalism </li></ul><ul><li>Parochialism </li></ul><ul><li>Devolution </li></ul>
  4. 4. A brief look at some of the things associated with Scotland that were not even Scottish in the first place The name Scotland comes from a Celtic tribe from Ireland known as the Scoti. They arrived in what the Romans called Caledonia in the 5th century; by the 11th century they had ‘taken over’ the whole of the mainland and started to call it Scotland. While on this subject; the patron saint of Scotland, ‘Saint Andrew’, was Greek.
  5. 5. Whisky Whisky originates from China and arrived in Ireland long before arriving in Scotland. The name coming from the Irish translation of the Latin for ‘water of life’. A brief look at some of the things associated with Scotland that were not even Scottish in the first place
  6. 6. A brief look at some of the things associated with Scotland that were not even Scottish in the first place Porridge Porridge has actually been found in the stomachs of 5,000 year old Neolithic bog bodies in Scandinavia. Dating it many many years before it was first tasted in Scotland.
  7. 7. A brief look at some of the things associated with Scotland that were not even Scottish in the first place Bagpipes Bagpipes were invented in Central Asia and are so ancient they are even mentioned in the Old Testament and in the Greek poetry of the 4th century BC. It was probably the Romans that first brought them to Britain.
  8. 8. A brief look at some of the things associated with Scotland that were not even Scottish in the first place Kilt The kilt was actually invented by the Irish and it took its name from Denmark (kilte op: tuck up)
  9. 9. A brief look at some of the things associated with Scotland that were not even Scottish in the first place Tartan The elaborate system of clan tartans only came about from the early parts of the 19th century. The fact is that, although originally Scottish, all Highland dress was banned after the 1745 rebellion. It wasn’t until English garrison regiments started to design their own in the early 19th century that the craze started again.
  10. 10. A brief look at some of the things associated with Scotland that were not even Scottish in the first place Haggis Haggis was actually a Greek sausage in ancient times. It is even mentioned in ‘The Clouds’ by Aristophanes in 423BC. http://socyberty.com/society/scottish-stereotypes-that-arent-even-scottish/
  11. 11. “ Identity is not as transparent or unproblematic as we think. Perhaps, instead of thinking of identity as an already accomplished historical fact…we should think, instead of identity as a “production,” which is never complete, always in process, and always constituted within, not outside representation” Stuart Hall, Cultural Identity and Cinematic Representation in Framework 36 (1989): 68-81 Identity
  12. 12. “ I was aware of the fact that identity is an invention from the very beginning, long before I understood any of this theoretically. Identity is formed at the unstable point where the ‘unspeakable’ stories of subjectivity meet the narratives of history, of a culture.” Stuart Hall Identity
  13. 13. <ul><li>In addition to identity coming from specific historical experiences, Hall writes, “I believe it is an immensely important gain when one recognizes that all identity is constructed across difference and begins to live with the politics of difference.” </li></ul><ul><li>When people use the term “identity” or place themselves within a pre-existing “identity group” that they are working off of an imagined and constructed set of ideas – a fiction. This is not to say that these fictions of identity don’t have real, tangible effects on our lives. </li></ul><ul><li>Hall goes on to state how a “recognition of difference, of the impossibility of ‘identity’ in its fully unified meaning, does, of course, transform our sense of what politics is about” </li></ul>Identity
  14. 14. Identity
  15. 15. Heritage “ Heritage is a thoroughly modern concept… We have constructed heritage because we have a cultural need to do so in our modern age. Heritage is a condition of the late twentieth century… the extraordinary phenomenon through which the past is opened not only to reconstruction but invention.” McCrone, D. et al, Scotland the Brand: the making of Scottish Heritage (Edinburgh, 1995), pg.1
  16. 16. What is heritage? <ul><li>Heritage is: </li></ul><ul><li>Not history (and for some, history’s polar opposite) </li></ul><ul><li>Both material (listed buildings, protected landscapes, precious objects) and conceptual (shared memory, myth, beliefs about the past) </li></ul><ul><li>A way of shaping the available past to the needs of the present </li></ul><ul><li>An officially defined, policed and protected national construct (Historic Scotland, Scottish National Trust, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>The shared inheritance from the past </li></ul>
  17. 17. What is heritage? <ul><li>For some observers, heritage is a symbol and symptom of cultural decline and sickness </li></ul><ul><li>For others, it is a invaluable source of cultural pride, strength and self-knowledge </li></ul>
  18. 18. What is heritage?
  19. 19. What is heritage? Professor Tom Devine, head of Edinburgh University's Scottish Centre of Diaspora Studies, said Homecoming is built on the &quot;Burns supper school of Scottish history&quot;.
  20. 20. What is heritage? <ul><li>Heritage is: </li></ul><ul><li>A carefully selective engagement with the past </li></ul><ul><li>A way of making the past coherent, manageable and meaningful </li></ul><ul><li>A comparatively recent form of leisure pursuit and culture </li></ul><ul><li>Something asserted as belonging uniquely to ‘us’, but which in practice is often used by ‘them’ </li></ul>
  21. 21. Heritage conservation
  22. 22. Heritage conservation Glasgow design firm ‘Timorous beastie’ were commissioned by the Edinburgh International Festival
  23. 23. The importance (cultural and economic) of heritage in Scotland
  24. 24. The importance (cultural and economic) of heritage in Scotland “ To put it simply, the whole idea of heritage has its origins in nineteenth-century Scotland and the revolution in the writing of history brought about by Sir Walter Scott… We might even argue that Scotland suffers from too much heritage rather than too little…” McCrone, D. et al, Scotland the Brand: the making of Scottish Heritage (Edinburgh, 1995), pg. 4
  25. 25. The importance (cultural and economic) of heritage in Scotland Henry Raeburn, Sir Walter Scott (1822) “   O Caledonia! stern and wild/Meet nurse for a poetic child!/ Land of brown heath and shaggy wood/ Land of the mountain and the flood!”           Walter Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805)
  26. 26. The importance (cultural and economic) of heritage in Scotland It is vital to understand Scott’s importance not simply as the creator of a dominant modern idea(l) of a specifically Scottish history and heritage, but also as a important influence over modern understandings of history and heritage per se (‘The past is a foreign country’). Henry Raeburn, Portrait of Colonel Alasdair Mcdonnell of Glengarry (1812)
  27. 27. The importance (cultural and economic) of heritage in Scotland <ul><li>Key tropes in Scott’s historical thought: </li></ul><ul><li>Romantic regret </li></ul><ul><li>Inevitability of ‘Progress’ </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence of/artefacts from the past are always on the verge of total extinction </li></ul><ul><li>Past = diversity, identity </li></ul><ul><li>Present = homogeneity, anonymity. </li></ul><ul><li>History as spectacle </li></ul><ul><li>The benefits of progress always just outweigh the disadvantages (no turning back) </li></ul>Horatio McCulloch, Glencoe (1864)
  28. 28. Edwin Landseer, The Monarch of the Glen (c. 1850) The ‘problem’ of Scottish heritage
  29. 31. The ‘problem’ of Scottish heritage Irrelevance “ [The classic tourist image of Scotland as Highland] is a view of Scotland that is highly selective in three senses. First, it portrays landscapes of highland and rural areas that are inhabited by only a tiny fraction of the Scottish population. Secondly, it depicts a society with a social and occupational structure that is quite different from elsewhere in Scotland. Finally, it shows a country that masquerades as being timeless and unchanging. In all three senses, there is precious little attempt to show the ‘other Scotland’ that is the demographic and economic heart of the nation. Indeed, the rest of the nation remains nigh-invisible as part of the enterprise of selling Scotland.” Gold, J. R. & Gold, M., Imagining Scotland: Tradition, Representation and Promotion in Scottish Tourism Since 1750 (Scholar Press, 1995), pg. 7
  30. 32. “ In the spring of 1953 the Hollywood producer Arthur Freed paid a visit to Scotland. When we met in Edinburgh he told me he wanted to find a village in the Highlands which could look unchanged with its inhabitants just awakened after the passage of a hundred years… He insisted on seeing Brig-O’-Doon [in the Ayrshire town of Alloway], although I assured him it had nothing to do with the Highlands. Then Arthur Freed went back to Hollywood and declared: ‘I went to Scotland but I could find nothing that looked like Scotland’. He was, of course, preparing to produce Brigadoon which has become the archetypical film of a bogus Scotland.” Forsyth Hardy, Scotland in Film (Edinburgh: EUP, 1990), pg. 1. The ‘problem’ of Scottish heritage
  31. 33. The ‘problem’ of Scottish heritage <ul><li>Of course, most developed nations have images and stereotypes they construct and conserve for touristic purposes. </li></ul><ul><li>Some argue, however, that what makes Scotland distinctive is that the best-known image of the country is as a space waiting explicitly for tourist discovery (as in Brigadoon ). There are, the argument goes, no alternatives for the natives… </li></ul>
  32. 34. The ‘problem’ of Scottish heritage “ Despite the frequent assertions of tourists… that they want to see ‘real’ life, they usually do not. Instead they are in search of a culturally created ideal of an attraction…” Grenier Haldane, K., Tourism and Identity in Scotland 1770-1914: Creating Caledonia (Aldershot, 2005), pg. 216.
  33. 35. The ‘problem’ of Scottish heritage “ Indeed it sometimes seems at times as if Scotland exists only as heritage: what singles it out for distinction is the trappings of its past while its modernity seems to make it little different from elsewhere… If Scotland is heritage-rich, then that could be because it has a past but not a present or a future.” McCrone, D. et al, Scotland - The Brand: The Making of Scottish Heritage (Edinburgh, 1995), pp. 5-6.
  34. 36. The ‘problem’ of Scottish heritage Cobbles on the Royal Mile ‘ Fat Bastard’ from Austin Powers movie
  35. 37. We hate Coca Cola We Hate Fanta too (it's shite) Were the Tartan Army And we drink Irn Bru Domestic appropriations of heritage
  36. 38. Nationalism
  37. 39. Why does 'difference' matter? Stuart Hall (1997) &quot;The Spectacle of the 'Other',&quot; in Stuart Hall (Ed.) Representations. Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: Sage and The Open University, pp. 223-279 The anthropological argument posits that each culture gives meaning by classifying things. Classification means emphasizing the difference, meaning that when you classify something there is a principle according to which you decide it is different or similar - so it has to go into this class of things. The idea here is that difference is created by those principles of classifications (those things which you highlight as central to defining). Though it makes it look like those principles are 'natural', 'logical' and 'immutable', they are in fact social conventions Nationalism
  38. 40. <ul><li>The irony is that the commodification, presentation and organisation of Scotland as a pre-modern wilderness for an international tourist audience is dependent on the achievement of modernity in a whole range of fields. </li></ul><ul><li>In other words, you have to be really up-to-date to present yourself so effectively as backward. </li></ul>The importance (cultural and economic) of heritage in Scotland
  39. 41. Representation <ul><li>Semiotics and content analysis are the main methods of formal analysis of representation </li></ul><ul><li>Representation always involves 'the construction of reality’ </li></ul><ul><li>All texts, however 'realistic' they may seem to be, are constructed representations rather than simply transparent 'reflections', recordings, transcriptions or reproductions of a pre-existing reality </li></ul><ul><li>Representations which become familiar through constant re-use come to feel 'natural' and unmediated </li></ul>
  40. 42. Representation <ul><li>Representations require interpretation - we make modality judgments about them </li></ul><ul><li>Representation is unavoidably selective, foregrounding some things and back-grounding others </li></ul><ul><li>Realists focus on the 'correspondence' of representations to 'objective' reality (in terms of 'truth', 'accuracy' and 'distortion'), whereas constructivists focus on whose realities are being represented and whose are being denied </li></ul><ul><li>Both structuralist and poststructuralist theories lead to 'reality' and 'truth' being regarded as the products of particular systems of representation - every representation is motivated and historically contingent </li></ul><ul><li>Alvarado, Manuel, Robin Gutch & Tana Wollen (1987) Learning the Media. London: Macmillan </li></ul>
  41. 43. REPRESENTATION IS NOT NEUTRAL; IT IS AN ACT OF POWER IN OUR CULTURE. Craig Owens, 1992
  42. 44. A key in the study of representation concern is with the way in which representations are made to seem ‘natural’. Systems of representation are the means by which the concerns of ideologies are framed; such systems ‘position’ their subjects. Representation
  43. 45. Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture, 1994 Identity Homi K. Bhabha (1948-) Post-colonial writer, rethinks questions of identity and national affiliations.
  44. 46. Identity “ If we describe Bhabha’s work as antithetical to fixity and to the rigidities of normative categorisations, then it is inevitable that he, like Stuart Hall, considers identity as being simultaneously defined in terms of unfulfillment and lack (following Lacan) and also of ‘more than’ the sociological and empirical realities of sex, class and ethnicity. ” Mc Robbie, A. (2005) The Uses of Cultural Studies , Sage Publications, London, P100
  45. 47. “ So what does it take to turn a stereotype around, to undermine a commonly assumed ‘r ealism ’? The options for breaking patterns, reversing stigmas, and conceiving a new and more just world picture are many and multifaceted. They range from opening wounds, to seeking revenge through representation, to reversing destructive developments so the healing process can begin. To turn a stereotype around, it is necessary to be extreme, to depart from, rather than merely engage with, accepted norms and romanticized aspirations. Stereotypes have the borrowed power of the real, even when they are turned around in the form of positive images by those trying to regain their pasts. It is necessary to depart from stereotype in two senses-to take off from it and finally to leave it behind.” Representation
  46. 48. The effective turnaround is a doubling back rather than a collusion or a dispersion. It can be an unexpectedly vicious dig in the ribs indicating that the joke ’s on you, or a double vision that allows different cultures to understand each other even as they speak in different ways. Transformation of self and society is finally the aim of all this mobile work that spins the status quo around. While irony, with its tinge of bitterness as well as humor, is the prevalent instrument, another is healing, in which the artist, as neo-shaman, heals her or himself, as a microcosm of society.”(Lippard 241) Representation
  47. 49. Still from the film ‘Trainspotting’ (1996) directed by Danny Boyle based on the novel ‘Trainspotting’ by Irvine Welsh. Identity
  48. 50. “ It's SHITE being Scottish! We're the lowest of the low. The scum of the fucking Earth! The most wretched miserable servile pathetic trash that was ever shat on civilization. Some people hate the English. I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers. Can't even find a decent culture to get colonized by. We're ruled by effete assholes. It's a shite state of affairs to be in and all the fresh air in the world won't make any fucking difference!” Identity
  49. 51. Nationalism
  50. 52. 1999: A Scottish Parliament is re-instated after 292 years, following the devolution of powers from London through the Scotland Act, 1997. Nationalism
  51. 53. Rob Roy (1995) Braveheart (1995) Nationalism
  52. 54. The politics of the image Bhabha challenges work done in the field of media and cultural studies on sexual and racial difference in Hollywood cinema which understands the stereotype as a point of fixity and security of meaning. He refutes that the stereotype is a simplification, and argues for its complexity and argues for its centrality to the practices of colonial governmentality, and also because it asserts the centrality of ‘visual and auditory’ imaginary for the histories of society. Bhabha’s ‘The Other Question’ from 1983 revised and reprinted in ‘The Location of Culture’ (1994). Nationalism
  53. 55. Consider th e extent to which within the field of everyday culture, and especially in film and tv, the stereotype has become an instrument for new modes of self representation which ‘talk back’ against those forces which are perceived as having previously utilised this device as a strategy for knowledge and control. Mc Robbie, A. (2005) The Uses of Cultural Studies , Sage Publications, London Domestic appropriations of heritage
  54. 56. Domestic appropriations of heritage Nab C. Nesbitt Chewin the Fat
  55. 57. Representation Stereotypes: Bh abha argues that the stereotype is a form of knowledge about ‘the other’, but far from securing certainty it in fact betrays the instability and uncertainty of relations between the powerful coloniser and the powerless colonised, thus what we know about the Irish, the Asian, the African needs to be anxiously ad endlessly repeated; it must forever circulate in culture. Hence the repetition across time and space of the jokes made about the ‘stupid Irish’, the ‘duplicitous Asian’, the sexuality of the black male …t he excessively drunken Scots. (McRobbie, P109)
  56. 58. “ It is the fear and the fascination of the coloniser which compels the construction of the racial stereotype. This makes the stereotype a ‘complex, ambivalent, contradictory mode of representation’. But this is also a means of seeking legitimation. If the stereotype shows the other to be degenerate then it can be claimed that others are incapable of self-rule (the feckless Irish, the drunken Scot). The stereotype is then a critical instrument of government, it renders others knowable in such a way as to justify the superiority of the coloniser. ” (McRobbie, P110) Representation
  57. 59. The White Heather Club, Andy Stewart and Moira Anderson sit uncomfortably with the modern Scot. Representation

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