The 'Tourist Gaze' on Gaelic Scotland

Maclean, Coinneach (2014) The 'Tourist Gaze' on Gaelic Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The Scottish Gael is objectified in an un-modified ‘Tourist Gaze’; a condition that is best understood from a post-colonial perspective. John Urry showed that cultures are objectified by the gaze of a global tourist industry. The unequal power relations in that gaze can be mediated through resistance and the production of staged touristic events. The process leads to commoditisation and in-authenticity and this is the current discourse on Scottish tourism icons. An ethnographic study of tour guiding shows a pattern of (re)-presentation of a silenced and near invisible Gaeldom. By building upon Foucauldian theories of power, Said’s critique of Orientalism’s discourse and Spivak on agency, this unmodified gaze can be explained from a postcolonial perspective. Six related aspects of Gaeldom’s (re)-presentation are revealed ; the discourse of the Victorian invention of Scottish cultural icons, and, by metonymic extension, Gaelic culture; the commoditisation of Gaelic culture in the image of the Highland Warrior; the re-naming of landscape and invention of new place narratives; historical presence by invitation; elision with Irish culture; and, the mute Gael. Combined, the elements of (re)-presentation result in the distancing and the rendering opaque of Gaelic culture. The absence of informed mediators, either tourist authorities or individuals, the lack of an oppositional narrative and the pervasive discourse of invention reduces the Gael to a silenced subaltern ‘other’. Thus the unmediated tourist ‘gaze’ continues. This exceptionally singular condition of Scottish Gaeldom is comprehensible through analysis of Scottish tourism from a postcolonial perspective.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Gaelic, Tourism, 'Gaze' Postcolonial Said.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages > PB1501 Scottish Gaelic Language
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Creativity Culture and Faith
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Phipps, Professor Alison
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Mr Coinneach Maclean
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5178
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2014 15:06
Last Modified: 29 May 2017 11:02
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5178

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