Chapter

The Ideological Uses of the Picts, 1707-<i>c</i>.1990

Colin Kidd

in Scottish History

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780748614196
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653317 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748614196.003.0008
The Ideological Uses of the Picts, 1707-c.1990

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This chapter explores ideas about the Picts over some three hundred years. It shows that Pictomania has claimed many victims not only in Scotland but in modern Ulster. Picts were viewed as the autochthonous people of northern Britain and that, as a consequence, any claim to aboriginal authority must confront an ancient Pictish presence. The argument that each generation recreated the Pictish past to meet its own ideological needs tells only half of a fascinating story; for there are consistent threads which join the various episodes studied. In each case the Picts — representing a suppressed aboriginal truth — were deployed to unmask a form of false consciousness about national origins. Moreover, in almost every case the ideological error to be exposed was a myth of Gaelic origins.

Keywords: Picts; Pictomania; Scottish history; Gaelic origins; aboriginal authority

Chapter.  9052 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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