Postnationalism and performance culture, questioning culturally 'Scottish' productions in contemporary television, theatre and film

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2011
Thesis identifier
  • T13147
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • This thesis considers representations of identity in key performative texts produced in contemporary Scotland. Drawing on the work of Eleanor Bell and Jürgen Neubauer, it is suggested that present-day Scotland is moving towards a postnational paradigm, rather than a national one. It is argued by these scholars that identity is becoming more multifaceted at a political level with the result that traditional notions of identity, informed by the cultural myths and discourses of nationalism, no longer seem relevant or useful in contributing to contemporary constructions of identity. Clydesideism is used in this work as a case study to assess the uses and usefulness of tradition in the construction and representation of identity in recent fictional narratives. This Glasgow-based discourse has been selected for examination (as opposed to Tartanry or Kailyardism) due to the fact that many texts in recent performance culture are based, and/or set, in Glasgow. Even after a cursory examination of contemporary Scottish film, television and theatrical production, it is evident that Scotland's largest city is the preferred setting for fictional narratives. Cultural productions set in Glasgow - whether in film, theatre or television - are often studied in reference to, or classed as belonging to, the discourse of Clydesideism. This research seeks to question the current usage of this discourse with the aim of assessing its relevance as a critical category in relation to current cultural productions (mainly those of the past decade). In doing so, it seeks to advance knowledge in the field by moving on from Petrie's celebratory, positive reclamation of Clydesideism in his 2004 publication Contemporary Scottish Fictions, which focuses on fictional narratives of the eighties and nineties. It will be suggested throughout this work that productions such as the BBC Scotland's soap opera River City challenge the notion that traditional cultural national discourses can signify appropriate codifications of contemporary 'Scottishness'. Such productions are often more concerned with the postnational discourses of multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism. It is not the intention of this thesis then to contribute to the positive reclamation of traditional discourses, which is currently in vogue in Scottish studies, rather the usefulness of their reclamation in light of the recent moves towards postnationalism (as it is defined by both Bell and Neubauer) will be questioned. It will be asked whether national myths still matter and if they continue to constitute an active and significant cultural referent at a time when, according to Bell, we should 'view Scotland and Scottishness as, in part, the products of globalism, multiculturalism and consumerism in order to see that we are now 'somewhere else entirely''(Bell 2004a: 89).
Resource Type
  • Strathclyde theses - ask staff. Thesis no. : T13147
Date Created
  • 2011
Former identifier
  • 947229