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Warrior dreams

Playing Scotsmen in mainland Europe

By David Hesse

Warrior dreams

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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9190-2
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £75.00
  • Published Date: September 2014
  • BIC Category: Sociology, Anthropology, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General, Society & social sciences / Physical anthropology

Description

Why does a Parisian banker re-enact the medieval wars of Wallace and Bruce in his spare time? Why do more than 20,000 people attend the Schotse Weekend bagpipe competition in Bilzen, Flanders? Why does an entire village in the Italian Alps celebrate a lost Scottish regiment? And why is there a Highland Games circuit of at least 30 kilted strength competitions in Austria, with dedicated athletes tossing hay-balls and pulling tractors? This is the first study of the self-professed 'Scots' of Europe. It follows the many thousands of Europeans who are determined to discover their inner Scotsman, and argues that by imitating the Scots of popular imagination, the self-styled European Highlanders hope to reconnect with their own ancestors - their lost songs, traditions and tribes. They approach Scotland as a site of European memory. This book explores issues of performance and celebration, memory and nostalgia, heritage and identity, and will be of interest to specialists on Scottish emigration and diaspora, Scottish history and myth, and to the 'Scots' of Europe themselves.

Reviews

It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry at one of the most bizarre stories of modern culture, beautifully told by David Hesse. Is this who Scots have become, or are we simply figuring in someone else's fantasy life? Hesse tells it with sympathy and irony, and he is always true to what he finds. Perhaps we are all Scots now.'
Emeritus Professor David McCrone, University of Edinburgh

'It is a volume full of surprises, intriguing facts and sharp insights which will have obvious appeal for scholars of identity, history, anthropology and folk culture. But Warrior dreams also merits a much broader readership because of its accessible prose and stimulating exploration of the enduring global appeal of romantic Scottishness'.
Professor Sir Tom Devine, University of Edinburgh

...is an extraordinary book which examines the remarkable cult of Scottishness which has mushroomed across northern Euroe from Moscow to Stockholm in recent decades. Hesse skillfully explains why Highland games, pipe bands, military re-enactments and Scots festivals have become so popular on the continent among Europeans who have no Scottish herritage whatever and often have never visited the country of their dreams. A book which deserves a wide readership...

'These primary source materials, among others, are analysed within an impressive grasp of a wider scholarship on memory and heritage and deft comparisons with the "genetic" Scottish diaspora of North America and Australasia.'
Interdisciplinary Journalof Scottish Studies, Vol. 39, 2017

Author

David Hesse holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh and now works as a political correspondent for a Swiss daily newspaper in Washington D.C.

Contents

Introduction: The Scots of Europe
1. Context: playing the past
2. The Scottish dreamscape: formation
3. The Scottish dreamscape: spread
4. Marching Scots: pipe bands
5. Only the strong: Highland Games
6. Our Scottish past: commemorations
7. Régiments du passé: re- enactment
8. Homecomings: finding neverland
9. Who's like us? Scotland as a site of memory
Conclusion: Warrior dreams
Appendix A: Tables
Appendix B: Sample questionnaire
Bibliography
Index

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