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Article in Journal ()

On Vernacular Scottishness and its Limits: Devolution and the Spectacle of 'Voice'

Citation
Hames S (2013) On Vernacular Scottishness and its Limits: Devolution and the Spectacle of 'Voice', Studies in Scottish Literature, 39 (1), Art. No.: 16, pp. 201-222.

Abstract
'Voice' has been a key motifs in Scottish literary and political discourse of the past few decades. This article explores the ambivalence of voice as a trope for national expression and empowerment, and considers the complex appeal of "vernacular" rhetoric during the period, and within the limits, of Scottish devolution.

In critical discourse which elides literary and democratic claims to voice during this period, Scottish vernacular writing functions both as a soulful emblem of suppressed agency, and a flexible "display identity" within a spectacle of cultural difference. Conceiving devolution as a granting-of-voice on these terms, I argue, tends to re-inscribe the containment logic of 1970s UK centralism, releasing/locking Scottish cultural production into reified postures of "representation" which leave uncontested the constitution of representative power.
The ambivalence of 'voice' and the complex interplay of over-lapping rhetorics of Scottish 'vernacularity' (democratic, romantic, identitarian) are examined with particular reference to two key novelists of the 'new Scottish renaissance', James Kelman and Irvine Welsh.

Keywords
vernacular; devolution; voice; Scottish parliament; Scottish nationalism; Scottish identity; Scots language; Irvine Welsh; James Kelman; Alex Salmond

StatusPublished
AuthorsHames Scott
Publication date2013
Publication date online08/2013
Date accepted by journal24/02/2013
URLhttp://scholarcommons.sc.edu/ssl/vol39/iss1/16/
PublisherUniversity of South Carolina
ISSN 0039-3770
LanguageEnglish

Journal
Studies in Scottish Literature: Volume 39, Issue 1

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