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Constructing Scottish Identity in Media Discourses

The Use of Common Sense Knowledge in the Scottish Press

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Miriam Schröder

Scotland’s efforts to establish and assert its distinct national identity have a long tradition. National identity has been a central theme throughout the centuries in a country where economic, political, and social issues have tended to be closely bound up with questions of national mentality and emotion. This book examines the part played by Scottish newspapers in constructing identity during a key period of the devolution process, 1997–2011. It uses insights from the fields of cultural and media studies, sociology, cognitive science and narratology into the ways in which culturally defined knowledge and the notions of identity emerging from it have been constructed. The study contributes to the understanding of Scottish identity, and its evaluations are relevant beyond the immediate context of Scotland and the United Kingdom.
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6 Conclusion

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This thesis has sought to examine the everyday construction of Scottish identity by analysing discourses in Scotland for the common sense knowledge they contain. Assuming that any two people who claim to possess a Scottish identity will share common sense knowledge about what it means to be Scottish, this study has attempted to contribute to determining the meanings of Scottishness. In addition, by examining common sense knowledge about Scottishness in Scottish discourses, it has essentially provided a categorisation and thorough discussion of manifestations of this knowledge.

This study has built its argument on the principles of social construction and has set forth the idea that language is the defining component of social reality construction. By examining the role that language plays, not only in the construction of social reality but also in the construction of culture, identity and community, this study has shown how meaning becomes fixed within social representations. Furthermore, it has revealed how our cognition and understanding of the world that we inhabit is shaped by culture and expressed through language in discourses, as the construction of social reality and knowledge is a social, communicative action. Language is a cultural construct that creates reality and proficiency in a specific language allows for a specific perception of reality. Moreover, language use defines membership in specific social groups as meaning in language is negotiated between its users in social discourses. Essentially, language thus reveals the common sense knowledge of a culture.

Building principally on...

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