This highly original study explores how different, but connected ways of seeing infuse relationships between place and belonging. Its argument is that all memories, whether fleeting glimpses or elaborated narratives, necessarily invoke imagined pasts - tenement life, island cultures, vanished moralities, even the origins of social science. But do these multiple recollections share a common frame of reference? Are perceptions conditioned by a collective social imaginary? Visions of nation and community, from Adam Ferguson's ideas on the development of civil society through John Grierson's pioneering of documentary film to the structures of feeling in popular fiction, reflect the impact of modernity on Scottish culture since the late eighteenth century. While landscape as the symbolic 'face of Scotland' and its attendant mental contours have been produced and debated in many genres, including travel literature, social commentary, novels and magazines, changes in the means of capturing and presenting images, particularly the emergent possibilities of the photograph, have affected the ways we identify and remember.
The analysis adopts a broadly sociological approach, but its range lends equal appeal to social historians, cultural geographers, and particularly those pursuing visual or memory studies.
Andrew Blaikie is Professor of Historical Sociology at the University of Aberdeen. He is author of Illegitimacy, Sex and Society: Northeast Scotland, 1750-1900 (1994) and Ageing and Popular Culture (1999).
Acknowledgements; List of illustrations; Chapter 1 Scotland and the places of memory; SECTION 1 ENCOUNTERING MODERNITY: Chapter 2 Before and after modernity: the legacy of Adam Ferguson; Chapter 3 The eyes of modernity: John Grierson's sociology; SECTION II PLACING IDENTITIES: Chapter 4 Among the wee Nazareths: myths of moral community; Chapter 5 Retrieving 'that invisible leeway': landscapes, cultures, belonging; SECTION III LOCAL VISIONS: Chapter 6 A pattern of islands: photographs in the cultural account; Chapter 7 Remembering 'The Forgotten Gorbals'; Chapter 8 Finding ways home; Index