A tartan imaginary: cultural identity through the looking glass of the 'Scottish' second sight phenomena
Iain Edgar (Durham University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper analyses the distinctive historical and contemporary experience of 'Scottishness(es)' through the study of the tradition of the 'second sight' phenomena. There will be cross-cultural reference to vision, dream and divinatory practices studied within other comparable world cultures.
Paper long abstract:
In the background of this paper is the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence which will comprehensively challenge and evoke all known aspects of 'being Scottish'. This paper intends to illuminate the distinctive historical and contemporary experience of 'Scottishness(es)' through the consideration and study of the tradition of the second sight from antiquity to modern times. Such a reported visionary and dream tradition is deeply rooted in Scottish folk tales, especially Highland ones. The paper will analyse the warp and the weft of interaction between personal, experiential imaginative creativity and the social and collective imaginary, and accompanying embodied praxis, of 'being Scottish'. The formative role of Celtic, Norse and Christian imaginaries will be considered, as well as cross-cultural reference to the role of vision, dream and divinatory practices studied within other comparable world cultures.
The edgy Northern European imaginaries: cultural identity through the looking glass of fabulous ancestors and ludic realities