This study combines theoretical models drawn from folklore studies and anthropology to analyze the construction of cultural identity among the inhabitants of the Orkney Islands off the Northern Coast of Scotland. This work should appeal to scholars interested in anthropology, Scottish history, Scandinavian studies, ethnography, and folklore. This study examines the role of informal narrative (casual stories exchanged by people in everyday interactions) in the process of creating and maintaining cultural identity in relation to the inhabitants of the Orkney Islands off the Northern Coast of Scotland. These narratives serve as the means by which a community negotiates and forms its self-identity and, therefore, provide a suitable window onto this cultural negotiation process. Combining symbolic interpretive theory from anthropology with performance theory from folklore, this analysis illuminates narrative as a cultural tool used to construct various identities, concepts of communality and community.
This analysis, being directed towards the Orkney Islands, seeks to understand Orcadian identity in both its own perception of its separateness from mainland Scotland and the way in which it draws heavily on a sense of Scandinavian identity.
Dr. Michael A. Lange received his Ph.D. in Folklore from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, having completed master's degrees in cultural anthropology and Scandinavian studies from the same institution. He has lived in various parts of Scotland for more than two years, including a year of ethnographic fieldwork in the Orkney Islands. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin.
List of Illustrations; Foreword; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Anatomy of the Text; Chapter One - Background: Setting the Scene; Passages through the Islands; A Potted History of Orkney; Chapter Two - Being Important, Being 'Bigsy'; Importance; Stoicism and Being 'Bigsy'; Chapter Three - Orcadian Accent and Dialect; Language and Authenticity; Threat; Chapter Four - Heritage; History and Heritage; A Dissenting Opinion; Chapter Five - Orcadian Identity, Orcadian Voices; Orcadian Identity/Personal Identity; The Construction of Identity; Belonging to Orkney; Chapter Six - Conclusions; Bibliography; Index.