Tartanry and its Discontents: The Idea of Popular Scottishness

Alan Riach

in From Tartan to Tartanry

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780748638772
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653539 | DOI:
Tartanry and its Discontents: The Idea of Popular Scottishness

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This chapter takes a speculative journey through some examples of currency in active transaction, and considers its practice as generating a complex dynamic that seems central, indeed unique, to what the word ‘Scotland’ means. It opines that the story of how tartan has acquired its meanings and how these meanings function is exceptional to Scotland. It adds that no other country has a distinctive, almost infinitely variable (and therefore undefined) cloth pattern as a national badge. It endorses recognition of difference, an inclusiveness that is sensitive to qualities of character, liabilities of preference, strengths and weaknesses that anyone can see at work in any family.

Keywords: Scotland; tartan; national badge

Chapter.  5632 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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