Since devolution many museums in Scotland have attempted to represent national identity in plural and inclusive terms – emphasising regional and historical differences within the nation and highlighting the contribution of so-called “New Scots” to Scottish society. However, it remains to be seen whether attempts to deconstruct homogenous discourses of nationhood at the level of the state or institution are capable of radically altering individual understandings of national identity and belonging. Further empirical research is therefore needed into the way in which heritage is produced and negotiated in everyday social environments beyond the museum in order to understand what – if any – impact museums may have on challenging prejudice and producing inclusive definitions of national identity. Drawing on Mason's (2013) “cosmopolitan museology” and Rounds' (2006) theory of “identity work” in museums, this paper analyses the narratives of young people aged between 13 and 18 years old from six schools in Glasgow, Edinburgh, the Scottish Borders and the Western Isles. It argues that when negotiating national identity and cultural diversity, individuals adopt narrative strategies in order to accommodate new information without necessarily changing their own definitions of national heritage or attitudes towards minority groups. The implications of this finding for both museum practice in Scotland and the wider European context are considered.
|Early online date||25 Jun 2014|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2014|
- Young People
- Cultural policy
- National identity