AbstractShetland’s geographical location has long been considered remote or isolated from a centralised Scottish perspective. However, as an island group situated between the neighbouring landmasses of Scotland and Norway, Shetland is directly situated on the maritime highway of the North Atlantic Rim. The mobilising quality of the maritime highway created a path of entry into the islands, allowing the development of locational narratives, but has also resulted in the loss of some of these narratives.
This investigation addresses the dynamics of cultural interchange by formulating a theoretical model of the exchange of ‘cultural products’; with particular regard for practices of recording and displaying visual narratives. The ancient capital of Shetland, Scalloway, provides the background for a microcosmic account of Shetland’s wider history and cultural composition and forms the main focus of the thesis. Within this setting the process of cultural interchange can be seen to have been formative in the development of island identity; particularly in traditional practices, occupational forms, dialect, place-names and cultural expressions.
The historical account of Scalloway provides material culture evidence for human occupation reaching back to the Bronze Age. Successive ‘layers’ in the archaeological record and officially recorded histories indicate distinct periods pertinent in the development of a local identity; Iron Age, Norse Era, Stewart Earldom and World War Two. Collectively, these periods represent a consecutive process of ‘imprinting’ characteristics
upon the local population; including geographical positioning, dialect, political control and shared narrative histories with Norway during the Second World War. However, it can be seen that there is an over-determination of the Norse element of island identity, which finds a greater degree of replication in visual accounts. It is argued in this investigation that this over-determination is a deliberate cultural construct of island identity that is maintained in opposition to Scottish control.
|Date of Award||6 Mar 2013|
|Supervisor||Donna Heddle (Supervisor), Margaret Greico (Supervisor) & Stefan Brink (Supervisor)|