Accepted Paper:

The shelf reflects the self: books in the homes of Scottish Americans  

Author:

Rachel Noorda (Brigham Young University-Idaho)

Paper short abstract:

The showcasing of books at home can be a reflection of the self. Through analysis of interviews with Scottish Americans, this paper investigates the self in the shelves Scottish Americans to determine what bookshelves say about identity and relationship to the Scottish home.

Paper long abstract:

The consumption and showcasing of certain books in the home can be a reflection of the self. Consumption has been identified by several researchers as a means by which individuals form and assert identity (Combes, Hogg and Varey 2011; Nancarrow, Tinson and Webber 2007; Arnould and Thompson 2005; Holt 1995), particularly in this postmodern era characterized by the re-grouping of communities that are electively and loosely bound by common behaviors and lifestyles (Maffesoli 1995). This paper investigates the self in the shelves Scottish Americans. Of particular interest in this research is how national identity is reflected in the types of books Scottish Americans not only consume but choose to display, and how their displayed books might be considered symbols and reminders of the Scottish homeland.

Based on the analysis of interviews with Scottish Americans, this paper explores the relationship between books, home, and identity in the lives of Scottish Americans. This paper builds upon the research results of a PhD thesis that discovered that some members of the Scottish diaspora use books as a way to personalize the homeland and reinterpret national myths, memories, symbols and traditions (Noorda 2016). Through this analysis, this paper determines what the bookshelves of Scottish Americans say about Scottish American identity and relationship to the Scottish "home".

Panel Home11
Books create a home: exploring books and reading practices as domestic symbols and rituals