- Michael Gardiner
My attempt to process Scottish culture in its entirety continues, taking in the canon, old shitey forgotten canons, a giant chunk of political philosophy, and a poke of Heideggerian shite. I'm reading about 200 pages a day, working as if not in the early days of a belting migraine. Carving my head into funny shapes:
First lesson: my sheer Scottish ignorance. I hadn't heard of Tom Nairn, James Hamilton, John Galt, Margaret Oliphant, William Dunbar, Tom Leonard, Willa Anderson, Angus Calder, Maurice Lindsay, Ethel Moorhead, Ossian, John McGrath - nor did I know Smollett and Carlyle were Scottish. I had dismissed the Scottish Enlightenment as hyped propaganda. I didn't understand Presbyterianism as a Scottish phenomenon. I hadn't read much with much sympathy at all.
Second lesson: Nationality is fucking complex. As a teen I did have a nasty theory of nationalism:
Third lesson: Scots theory is actually interesting. The flyting-feuilleton air of it, if nothing else.
Distinctions to be emphasised:
- Banal nationalism (local celebrities; whisky) v Formal nationalism (the anthem; haggis)
- Nation ≠ Country ≠ People ≠ Culture ≠ Ethnie ≠ State's interests ≠ Cult of the Past
- Ethnic nationalism ≠ Civic nationalism ≠ Instrumental nationalism ≠ ...
Essentialist nationalism: A belonging which depends on a priori things (shared ethnicity, language, geographical location).
a. ‘Romantic’ (racist) nationalism: Hereditary membership. Discussion of identity is moot – since everyone ‘truly’ [British] understands that growing up in [Britain] automatically provides you with your sense of self. Individuals are uncomplicated, unitary, with an unbroken connection with their origins.
Corollary: The ‘authenticity’ of individuals needs to be defended against change and foreign incursion.
b. State nationalism: If you agree with the government then you’re in. (Mussolini, Jacobins)
c. Pan-nationalism: Goal of unifying some Golden Age ethnic block. See (a)
d. Religious nationalism
e. Diaspora nationalism: Emigrant communities’ phantom bedrock. Imaginary.
Modernist nationalism: nation as a mentally constructed thing. An ‘imagined community’ binding varied people together. Necessarily dynamic (?)
a. Imperialism: Spread [Britishness]! Imagined community of citizens: supposedly values-based. Official nationalism: Elites tried to merge imagined-Britain with the wider empire. Isles extended over absurdly vast cultural space. Britishness as 'civilising' ideology.
b. Post-colonial nationalism: Resistance to cultural domination leads to movement for self-determination vs political domination. (Scotland has elements.)
c. Revolutionary nationalism: ‘Communism will take over a piece at a time.’
d. Civic / Liberal nationalism: Queer beastie. Constitutional statement about national identity; ethnic origin sidelined in favour of tolerance and equality. A voluntary identity. Nation goes on for 'democracy’s sake':
(1) social integration in a liberal democracy requires shared norms and beliefs (or so claims Schnapper)
(2) levels of trust required for democratic politics only attained among co-nationals (or so claims Miller)
(3) Deliberation requires perfect communication, possible only in a shared public culture (so says Barry)
(4) economic viability of specifically industrialized democracies requires one national culture (so claims Gellner)
Postmodern nationalism: There is no one Scottish worldview, no apriori conditions to be a Scot. There is a collective psyche, but it’s contradictory, hybrid and can't ever be wrapped up.