The role of tourism in the expression of nationalism in Scotland

Bhandari, Kalyan (2012) The role of tourism in the expression of nationalism in Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Tourism like ‘nation’ is a ‘cultural’ concept. In many cases tourism has played a role in the expression of the ‘nation’ and helps solidify the common heritage, cultural kinship, a sense of common identity and belonging. In Scotland, the imagery formed by tourism has helped in the identification of the Scottish nation. This thesis is concerned with the interaction of tourism with the Scottish nation and examines how persistently the touristic heritage of Scotland represents its cultural identity, national image and distinctive characteristics. The main quest was to discover if tourism in Scotland is an expression of nationalism. This was investigated at tourism attractions at three levels - national, regional and personal - with particular reference to the central belt and the southwest region of Scotland. Qualitative research methodology was applied and data were collected through a variety of sources that included a questionnaire survey, interviews, participant observation, field observation and notes, and other unobtrusive and library-based sources. The evidence from this study shows that tourism plays a dominant and meaningful role in the manifestation of Scottish culture and national identity.

The findings of this study suggested that the use of images and icons of Scottish cultural heritage in tourism strongly promotes and advances Scottish cultural distinctiveness and identity at all the three levels. At the national level, the presentation of Scottish cultural heritage to tourists in Edinburgh strongly resonates with the ideals of nationalists. At the regional level, the images of Robert the Bruce and Robert Burns in the southwest region in tourism are strong markers of Scottish nationhood. At the personal level, the Scottish heritage of ancestry for genealogical tourists is a strong means to reflect on their identity and cultural roots: for them, touring Scotland is one of the ways to express their ‘national’ feeling and a means to articulate their ‘homeland’ nationalism. These findings reiterated that the touristic heritage of Scotland has elements that closely correspond with the identity of the Scottish nation. Being dominated by heritage attractions, tourism in Scotland is a narrative of its past and the present, through which it mediates the nation, and advances its national sense through recreation, authentication and touristification of its cultural heritage. This study helps us gain a deeper insight into the coherency between the idea of tourism, history, heritage, authenticity, a sense of identity and cultural roots: that can be helpful in understanding the nation from the perspective of tourism. The knowledge from this study can be helpful to the agencies involved in the development and management of tourism and cultural heritage of Scotland.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Scotland, nationalism, tourism, heritage, identity, Southwest Scotland
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Macleod, Dr. Donald
Date of Award: 2012
Embargo Date: 21 February 2017
Depositing User: Mr Kalyan Bhandari
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3570
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2012
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2016 12:26

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