Representations of home and belonging in fiction of the Scottish north
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date28/06/2023
This thesis attempts a shift in the valuing of narrative sources, moving ethnographic writing and research toward a more subjective, emotive, imaginative sphere. While Scottish ethnology and folklore studies are no strangers to narrative inquiry or to sourcing the narratives of storytelling events, Scottish regional fiction has not traditionally held a primary position in these studies. Therefore, this thesis juxtaposes ethnographic and literary fiction methods and practices in order to reveal a liminal space where values, limits, and perceptions of stories are renegotiated. In an exploration of this space in between, I propose that Scottish regional fiction utilises fiction’s distancing from the ‘real’ in order to communicate ‘truths’ which are relevant to the discipline of ethnography. Additionally, I approach this threshold from both sides, emphasising the areas in which regional fiction is similar to currently recognised sources for social research, as well as those elements of ethnographic writing which resemble fiction literature. Ultimately, this thesis poses regional fiction as a valid source for cultural studies, which may add value to ethnographic research. Applying Valentina Bold’s advocation for the review of Scottish fiction within folklore studies, I argue that the study of regional fiction offers a valuable contribution to fields which pursue social and cultural knowledge. This thesis demonstrates that weaving together anthropological research methods, informant testimony, literary passages, and fictional character insight may offer the ethnologist, folklorist, or other social researcher a holistic perspective on how ‘home’ is experienced and what meanings are placed on the tangible and intangible concepts of home within specific regions. Drawing on examinations of ethnographic studies and works of regional fiction, this thesis considers a new perspective on the value of fiction literature within social research and ethnographic pursuits.