The Highlands and Islands of Scotland as a “cultural museum”: The domestic consequences of migration 1945-2000.

Burnett, John (2001) The Highlands and Islands of Scotland as a “cultural museum”: The domestic consequences of migration 1945-2000. Immigrants and Minorities, 20 (1). pp. 35-70. ISSN 0261-9288

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Behind the phenomenon of migration, at the heart of the sending communities, lies a complex range of issues of which historians need to be aware. In this respect, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland are no different, and indeed they provide an interesting case‐study. By examining the interplay between different levels of society, from the state to local activists among the peoples choosing to emigrate, this article seeks to enhance our understanding of the pressures at work at the site of migration. It also seeks to explain how it came to be that governments felt compelled to treat the Highlands and Islands as a ‘cultural museum’, where ‘traditional’ occupations were accorded priority, and in so doing perhaps compromised the viability of the region for a large number of people who subsequently left. The difficulties of improving standard of living and economic conditions while trying to preserve a ‘way of life’ were particularly acute from the 1940s to the 1960s. By rooting the following discussion within an accelerated period of transformation, it is hoped that we will develop a greater appreciation of the political pressures, demographic consequences and social and cultural tensions in the Highlands and Islands at that time. The final section discusses subsequent shifts in policies, population patterns and the social and cultural condition of the region's inhabitants. The sources used reflect the broad scope of the article, with a combination of primary and secondary material supplemented by oral testimony.

Item Type: Article
Print ISSN: 0261-9288
Electronic ISSN: 1744-0521
Uncontrolled Keywords: Highlands and Islands; Scotland; migration; social history; cultural history;
University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Health, Life & Social Sciences > School of Health and Social Sciences
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 320 Political science
Library of Congress Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Item ID: 2215
Depositing User: RAE Import
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2008 10:16
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2013 12:26

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