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Title: Narratives of belonging and exclusion :the negotiation of heritage and place in young people's conceptualisations of national identity in Scotland
Authors: Lloyd, Katherine Jane
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis analyses whether attempts to reimagine the nation in plural terms can be successful in altering individuals’ conceptualisations of national identity and belonging. Drawing on theories of identity maintenance and ontological security (Giddens 1991), identity as performance (Butler, 1990; Goffman, 1959) and Mason’s (2013) concept of ‘cosmopolitan museology’, it questions the degree to which individuals are willing or able to accept plural representations of national identity increasingly seen in European museums such as the National Museum of Scotland. Such interpretative approaches attempt to deconstruct homogenous discourses of nationhood while encouraging individuals to develop a reflexive sense of self. This thesis argues that further research is needed into the way in which heritage is produced and negotiated in everyday social environments beyond the museum in order to understand what—if any— impact museums may have in producing ‘inclusive’ definitions of national identity. These issues are examined in Scotland, a devolved nation in the UK. The thesis critically analyses how young people aged between 13-17 years old from 5 schools in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Barra and the Scottish Borders utilised and negotiated concepts of ‘heritage’, ‘place’, ‘national identity’ and ‘diversity’ in narratives of belonging and exclusion. 73 young people participated in the research, which was conducted using focus groups and semi-structured interviews. The analysis also draws upon insights gained from teachers and heritage professionals. The research found that the majority of participants adopted positions that reinforced their existing sense of self, rather than alter their definitions of nationhood. While many participants were comfortable with the language of ‘diversity’, they frequently struggled to express themselves when applying these principles to everyday life. The findings indicate that museums could make a positive contribution to public debates by enabling individuals to articulate ideas of diversity while avoiding the essentialisation of difference.
Description: PhD Thesis : This is an edited version of the printed thesis in which copyrighted images have been removed. The thesis can be viewed in full, on request at the University Library.
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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