Sunshine on Leith: Art, Architecture, and Film in Scottish Nationalism and Culture, 1945-1999
Haverford College. Department of History
Place of Publication
Table of Contents
Scottish nationalism is a current and pressing issue, with the nation poised for another vote on independence after the failed 2014 referendum and the consequences of Brexit in 2016. In a long history of wars and rebellions against England, Scottish nationalists began their new drive for independence after World War Two under the Scottish National Party (SNP). The first step in this process was devolution, the granting of limited self-government through a national Parliament under the greater British Parliament in Westminster. Through political victories and collapses, the SNP finally achieved devolution with the help of New Labour, establishing the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Over this period, Scottish arts and architecture boomed in international relevance, empowering the Scottish electorate with a greater cultural awareness that helped them internalize these political changes. Scottish national identity was molded and remade by both cultural and political agents from different social strata, showing new forms of representation in a rapidly changing nation. Cultural nationalism became a key facet of Scottish politics, working to both define and appeal to the Scottish people. I fuse film, artistic, and architectural critique with cultural study and political history to elucidate the different forms of nationalism that developed over the latter twentieth century. I look at the connections and intersections of visual culture with political events to show how the two are intertwined, influencing each other through the modern creation of pop culture. The minds of Scottish voters were swayed just as much by the built environment and popular films as the diatribes of nationalist politicians. Looking forward to the concerns of the present day, this thesis provides a new framework through which to understand the drive for independence. Cultural identity must be addressed politically to properly represent the needs of a populace, as politics become anintegral part of popular culture.