Collective impressions of family life, childhood, community and later life tend to be constructed through narratives and images. These memories can conflict or harmonize with histories developed from other sources. Andrew Blaikie uses case studies to problematize how we interpret Scotland's recent past, for example asking how travelling journalists such as H.V. Morton constructed a picture of the nation using particular symbols of Scottishness. These are set against the diversity of lived experiences, indicating that personal biographies are often distinctly at odds with collective memories. Yet the continuing prominence of cultural myths suggests people seek to accommodate their personal understanding of everyday experience within a collective sense of community, local, national or otherwise. Perspectives from history, sociology and cultural studies are blended in this exploration of Scottish identity in the 20th century.
Andrew Blaikie is Professor of Historical Sociology at the University of Aberdeen. He is author of Illegitimacy, Sex and Society: Northeast Scotland, 1750-1900 (1994) and Ageing and Popular Culture (1999).