The book explores historical expressions of identity in Scotland, based on fieldwork in the Lowlands of Scotland that was carried out during 1996–2000, mostly in the County of Ayrshire. Strathern and Stewart weave together historical narrative with anthropological reflections and analyses to examine the issue of Scottish identities through the perspectives of both disciplines. Breaking new ground, they go beyond the immediate field area to wider contexts in Scotland, the British Isles more generally, and Western Europe to show how historical memories of quite diverse kinds contribute to the formation of contemporary identities.
Chapters discuss the Covenanters of the 17th century in the South West of Scotland and the Picts of Tayside and the North East. The book compares Wales and Northern Ireland with Scotland, and local histories are analyzed in relation to national trends and political events, in particular the inauguration of a devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999. Overall, the book contributes to the development of a historical anthropology with an innovative methodology, and adds valuable material to the study of identity in general and within Scotland itself.
This book is part of the European Anthropology Series, edited by Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathern, Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh.