Lowing K (2021) 'Imagining' National Identities through Language and Artefact in Modern Scotland - Gilded Thistles and Tartan Elephants. Palgrave Macmillan. https://www.palgrave.com/gb
Principally the study critically examines national Scottish facades, demonstrated through language and artefact, and theorises on the possibility of a dislocated and concealed Scottish collective psyche, hidden amongst the assembled ‘gilded thistle, tartanry’ or ‘tarnished anti-tartan’ narratives of twenty-first century Scotland. The study adopts a post-structuralist approach, largely employing content, thematic and critical discourse analysis as method. The research project situates itself not solely but largely within 18th to 21st century Scotland.
Ultimately the research asks: who are we as Scots; how do we articulate ourselves through word, text, literature and art, demonstrations of heritage and cultural signs, symbols and mnemonic devices; why do we gild the thistle, ‘tartanise’ our elephantine public and global Scottish facade, yet largely ignore this authentic plaid mouse, an uncomfortable soporific rodent, laid silent in our collective Scottish psyche, our more dependable experience of ‘Scottishness’? Why is this and what do we need to change? This is a pertinent study, with allusions to a third Scottish Renaissance; it is a text that encourages the mouse to goad the elephant, in a time of political and cultural transformation in Scotland.