Media Culture for a Modern Nation? Theatre, Cinema and Radio in Early Twentieth-Century Scotland

Scullion, Adrienne Clare (1992) Media Culture for a Modern Nation? Theatre, Cinema and Radio in Early Twentieth-Century Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study investigates the cultural scene in Scotland in the period from the 1880s to 1939. The project focuses on the effects in Scotland of the development of the new media of film and wireless. It addresses question as to what changes, over the first decades of the twentieth century, these two revolutionary forms of public technology effect on the established entertainment system in Scotland and on the Scottish experience of culture. The study presents a broad view of the cultural scene in Scotland over the period: discusses contemporary politics; considers established and new theatrical activity; examines the development of a film culture; and investigates the expansion of broadcast wireless and its influence on indigenous theatre. The study argues that it was the interaction of these media which created a modem culture in Scotland. The examination of the Scottish scene acts as a distillation of general trends in the cultural life of Britain as a whole: the expansion of the industries of popular culture; the rise of repertory theatre; the influential role of amateur performers and the contribution of the Left as cultural sponsor and producer are all part of the Scottish experience. The underlying aesthetic project of the period is identified as one which the state increasingly calls its own: that is a cultural strategy which perceives itself to be educative and improving. The repertory theatres are part of this, as are the Film Societies and the institutions of the British Film Institute and the Scottish Film Council. In developing an ethos of public service, the paradigmatic cultural institution of the period is, however, the BBC, whose role are regional as well as national broadcaster is acknowledged in this thesis. The key shift that this study highlights, however, is the active participation of the state in some of the nation's major artistic and cultural projects. The effects of the perceived cultural mission of artists, producers and state, and the developments of industry, technology and the arts generally are drawn together and discussed in the representative celebration of the 1938 Empire Exhibition: a distinctive and indeed final moment for the aesthetic, cultural and social projects of the preceding period and one in which the state participates as both exhibitor and arts sponsor. Of parallel importance is the active role increasingly adopted by the audience. Political debate combines with new theatre activity and the development of new and accessible technologies to create an environment in which the audience emerges as a powerful player in the media system. At the end of the period the social importance of the arts has been acknowledged and the culture industries are poised to be legitimised by state sponsorship and subsidy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Multimedia communications, Mass communication, Film studies, Theater history
Date of Award: 1992
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1992-76118
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 16:38
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 16:38

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