In the past, land agitations have had a clear spiritual and theological dimension. The morality of ownership over land itself is often questioned. Many see land as a community resource, and community ownership is an emergent 'model' of land tenure, both in word and in practice. This project on the role of spirituality and theology in Scotland's modern land reform is linked to research into the spirituality of community regeneration, supported by WWF International in Geneva. The findings show that for contemporary Scottish land reformers spiritual and theological dimensions are very important.
Economic and Socio-Political Uses of Heritage
This article focuses on the representation of the Highland Clearances – one of the most painful and controversial themes in modern Scottish history – in Scottish museum spaces. It brings to light the social, economic and political implications of the interpretation of this period through a survey of twelve independent local museums and two national museums. It argues that the Clearances have become a crucially defining landmark at a local but also national level. Yet the way the Clearances are represented in narratives differs significantly, showing the extent to which the meaning ascribed to the clearing process and its consequences is socially and historically conditioned. Whilst the symbolic and emotional resonance of the period as a traumatic rupture prevails, it has also come to articulate a political vision intrinsically linked with land reform in a devolved Scotland, and a transnational identity owing much to the imaginary of the Scottish diaspora.
A Case Study of the Anglo-Scottish Union
This article examines the political engagement of three Scottish women—Anne Hamilton, Duchess of Hamilton; Katherine Hamilton, Duchess of Atholl; and Katherine Skene, Lady Murray—during the negotiations that led to the 1707 Anglo-Scottish Union. The letters of these women reveal an active female involvement in Scottish politics during the pivotal debates over Union with England. They also serve to demonstrate the importance of family-based power among the landed elites in early modern Scottish politics. Challenging the continued absence of women from early modern Scottish political histories, this article argues that women, exemplied by the three discussed here, must be incorporated into political history if we want to fully understand the history of the Scottish nation.
The making of Roma/Gypsy migrants in post-industrial Scotland
Drawing on research among Slovak Roma labor migrants to the UK, this article examines differentiated modalities of belonging and a crystallization of the category of Roma/Gypsy in one neighborhood in a post-industrial Scottish city. This originally working-class, predominantly white area has been transformed, through several waves of migration, into a multicultural neighborhood. Established residents of the neighborhood express a sense of growing crisis and blame for local decline is frequently placed on migrants and, in particular, Gypsy migrants from Eastern Europe. The article focuses on the shifting forms of ethnocultural categorization that mark Roma difference in Glasgow.
Barr’s Irn-Bru (previously Iron Brew), Scotland’s best-known soft drink, was promoted by recurrent comic strip advertisements in Scottish newspapers from 1939 to 1970. ‘The Adventures of Ba-Bru’ featured an eponymous Indian character who was joined by a kilt-wearing companion known as Sandy. This article explores how what the firm presents as the longest-running promotional comic strip in history has helped shape the construction of Scottishness in the drink’s advertising. The exotic nature of the central Ba-Bru figure provides a counterpoint to manifestations of local particularism but also grounds the drink’s discourse on Scottishness in a wider imperial and unionist context. The comic strips also generate examples of intermedial transfer that underline the impact of quotidian consumption habits in a national identity shaped by popular culture.
Arguing over safety on the Firth of Forth
Achim Schlüter and Peter Phillimore
This article examines the centrality of 'safety' in Grangemouth's recent politics. Scotland's main petrochemical center is a town dominated for well over fifty years by a major BP complex. In a context of extensive redundancies at BP, new insecurities surrounding the future of the company's Grangemouth site, and a series of recent accidents, as well as controversy over planning applications from other chemical companies, the town has been pushed into unusually searching questioning about both safety and economic security. This article explores the different lines of reasoning and rationalization on risk, safety, and the future advanced by regulators, BP, and residents and their political representatives. We emphasize how important the familiarity of petrochemical technology has been in public responses to the question of safety, in contrast to many environmental risk controversies. And we argue that safety has provided a focus for social, moral, economic, and political perspectives on the town's present circumstances and future prospects to be played out.
Charles Bradford Bow
This article examines the “progress” of Scottish metaphysics during the long eighteenth century. The scientific cultivation of natural knowledge drawn from the examples of Sir Francis Bacon (1561–1626), John Locke (1632–1704), and Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727) was a defining pursuit in the Scottish Enlightenment. The Aberdonian philosopher George Dalgarno (1616–1687); Thomas Reid (1710–1796), a member of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society known as the Wise Club; and the professor of moral philosophy at Edinburgh University Dugald Stewart (1753–1828), contributed to that Scottish pattern of philosophical thinking. The question of the extent to which particular external senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell) might be improved when others were damaged or absent from birth attracted their particular interest. This article shows the different ways in which Scottish anatomists of the mind resolved Molyneux’s Problem of whether or not an agent could accurately perceive an object from a newly restored external sense.
Elizabeth C. Macknight
This article presents two case studies, from Scotland and the Scottish Islands, of communities' engagement with archives and their attitudes toward heritage. The case studies arise out of knowledge transfer between an historian employed in an academic role at a Scottish university and two “third sector“ organizations. By comparing the perspectives of historians, archivists, and community organizations the article shows the different ways in which these separate interest groups perceive the value of archives. It then points to some of the possibilities and challenges of working collaboratively to deepen understanding about the past and to create wider opportunities, now and in the future, for historical interpretation, teaching, learning, and research. In the era of digital technologies, it is recommended that undergraduate students be taught the key concepts of archival theory and practice, while also being encouraged to experience working with original archival documents.
Movement, Aesthetics and Shared Understanding
Jo Vergunst and Anna Vermehren
This article presents reflections on the theme of sociality from a mass-participation art event in the town of Huntly in north-east Scotland in 2009. Drawing on Alfred Schütz's notion of the 'consociate' and related concepts, our efforts are directed towards understanding the nature of sociality that the event created for the people involved in it. We consider slowness as an actual experience through pacing and cadence, and also the tensions between experience and the requirement that art should have measureable impact.
Demonic belief in Scotland has primarily been addressed in the context of the witch-trials, in which the devil appeared as an external figure that convinced morally weak people (mostly women) to renounce their baptisms, enter into a demonic pact, and commit atrocious crimes. Encountering the devil, however, could also be a very personal, internal experience that arose from the questions of sin and salvation that formed an intrinsic part of reformed Protestant piety. I propose that in order to understand the importance of the devil to early modern Scotland, and Europe more generally, we must look beyond the witch trials and the dichotomy of good versus evil and ask how early modern men and women actually experienced the devil in their daily lives. By exploring the diaries and letters of both ministers and laymen in seventeenth-century Scotland, I demonstrate that the devil was not simply an evil, non-human "Other"; for early modern Scots, the demonic represented something innate and intimate about humanity itself, serving as a constant reminder of the moral depravity man, the potential for God's wrath, and the insecurity of salvation.