Accepted paper:

Digital media, a tool to redefine a contemporary Scottish identity


Marc Romano (Heriot Watt University)

Paper short abstract:

Following the Brexit referendum, the question of national identity and belonging was raised and challenged particularly in Scotland were their origins are strongly aligned with Europe. This paper explores the redefinition of contemporary Scottish identity through the use of digital media.

Paper long abstract:

The Brexit referendum created a fracture in European diplomacy but it also revealed a significant internal split within the UK, with Scotland voting to remain at 55.8%. In its pursuit of a separatist utopia free from the bonds of European policy, Brexit offers a fictionalised geography that denies Scotland's European cultural belonging. Digital media became a common ground during the campaign for disinformation, construction of "authentic" national identity and false hope. The Brexit result offered little for Scotland to voice their own identity and claim back their European heritage. In Museum, Migration and Identity in Europe, Whitehead, Lloyd, Eckersley and Manson explore the difficulties in which national museums could reinterpret their national identity in a changing political environment. By 2008, the National museum of Scotland tried to explore "the changing nation" by filming locals, giving the voices back to its communities to define their identity. Harrison argues, "Nationalism and Heritage are fundamentally intertwined". It is no longer a top-down but rather a community led experience that seems to establish a counter-heritage, in which the core notion on nationhood could be reinterpreted. Scotland seems to claim a different discourse from England, in which European integration is core to its own identity. Social media represents a key platform to reach and engage with its communities upon redefining non-conventional heritage and national identity. This paper will explore the construction of heritage, tradition and identity through the use of digital media, focusing particularly on the impact of social media upon Scottish society.

panel Digi01
New networked nationalisms: tracking the role of digital ethnology and folklore in a changing political landscape [SIEF Working Group on Digital Ethnology and Folklore (DEF)] [P+R]