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Title: Archive and Narrative in the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum
Author(s): Austin, Alice M
Supervisor(s): Hames, Scott
Lynch, Peter
Egginton, Heidi
MacGlone, Eilidh
Keywords: national identity
cultural heritage
Scottish independence
Issue Date: 31-Dec-2021
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis investigates the construction and negotiation of cultural memory within the national archive. Emerging under the same specific historical circumstances, the nation and the archive operate as two sides of the same coin. The nation provides the defining framing in which archives have traditionally been understood to function, and the archive serves as the prism through which the national past and national future can be viewed and ‘read’. Evolutions in archival theory in the last century have demonstrated that archives are socially and imaginatively constructed: like the nation, records do not possess a natural character or value, but are instead inscribed value through inclusion in the archive. Collecting for the nation is not, therefore, a process that requires the uncovering or identifying records with innate value, but constitutes a tacit commentary on the nation’s character and on how the nation’s past, present, and future is conceived. Using the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum as a case study, I will examine how, as the key archival repository in the country, the National Library of Scotland conceived of the task of ‘collecting for the nation’ at a time when the very character of the nation was in question. I argue that the Referendum had a decidedly personal and archival character, but that an adherence to traditional archival principles in the management and presentation of material limits its representative capacity. I argue that embracing the narrative aspects of archival action would allow archivists to foreground the constructed nature of archival collections and invite greater deliberation on the ways in which the nation is represented.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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