From the Grassroots: A History of the Gaelic School Campaign in Edinburgh, 1998-2011

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Abstract

Between 1997 and 2011, parents and other language activists in Edinburgh engaged in a long and difficult campaign to establish a dedicated Gaelic-immersion primary school in the city. The parents and other activists organized their campaigns in the face of a powerful and pervasive ideology in Edinburgh, rooted in the Scottish Enlightenment, that understands Scottish Gaelic as a vestigial Highland language that has no place in Scotland’s modern and cosmopolitan capital city. As such, the debates around the development of Gaelic-medium education in Edinburgh were strikingly contentious, and it is perhaps not surprising that it took more than a decade to convince the City of Edinburgh Council to approve a dedicated Gaelic school. This social history of that campaign draws on a wide range of data that includes newspaper coverage, letters to the editor and blog/newsgroup posts, official reports, City of Edinburgh Council meeting minutes and consultation documents, consultation submissions and commissioned research, as well as data from extensive archives of documents collected and preserved by the activists themselves, including correspondences with officials and politicians, meeting minutes of activist groups, drafts of speeches, newsletters, campaign plans and lobbying documents. In addition, interviews were conducted with 13 key activists involved at different stages of the campaign. Together, this data provides us with a detailed picture of a grassroots language-revival initiative as one element of a broader social movement to promote the Gaelic language in Scotland, and over the course of this campaign, we will see how grassroots Gaelic activists challenged received notions of Gaelic's value and place in Edinburgh in support of more ambitious Gaelic development in the city.
Original languageScottish Gaelic/Gàidhlig na h-Alba
PublisherClò Ostaig
Number of pages192
ISBN (Print)9780956261564
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2020

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