Shinty, nationalism and cultural identity, 1835 - 1939: a critical analysis

Wednesday, 16 August 2000 00:00 Reid, I. A. eTheses

The significance of sport is now emerging as an important dimension of the broader scholarship that examines the social, cultural and political aspects of Scottish society.

A prominent facet of this emerging body of literature has examined the multiple ways in which sport contributes to and is constitutive of Scottish nationalism and culture.

This thesis builds upon previous studies of sport to examine the connections between shinty, nationalism and cultural identity. The rationale that underpins the thesis asserts that in order to understand more fully expressions of nationalism, it is necessary to examine the social and cultural forces that have contributed to different ideas about the nation in specific historical circumstances.

At the heart of the thesis it is argued that the sport-nationalism-identity axis in Scotland has sought to assert different forms of autonomy. The concept of autonomy, articulated through civil society, provides an original conceptual framework for the critical analysis of shinty, nationalism and cultural identity between 1835 and 1939. The development of shinty during this period coincided with the emergence of a number of cultural and political movements that were par of a relatively autonomous Highland civil society, and which became the repository of a paricular strand of Celtic radicalism. A number of the leading proponents of Celtic radicalism were advocates of various aspects of Scottish nationalism that oscilated on the political landscape of Britain after 1886.

Using a multi-methodological research approach, the thesis examines the extent to which the development of shinty intersected with key elements of Celtic radicalism and nationalism. It is concluded that shinty provided the terrain upon which paricular cultural identities could be ariculated, and was also a vehicle for paricular expressions of nationalism that reinforced different aspects of the autonomy of the Highlands within Scotland. This original and unique synthesis provided in this thesis makes a small contrbution to our understanding of sport in Scottish culture.



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APA reference for this document


Reference : Reid, I. A. (2000). Shinty, nationalism and cultural identity, 1835 - 1939: a critical analysis. PhD Thesis. Stirling: University of Stirling. Available from


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Access this URL (, I. A. (2000). Shinty, nationalism and cultural identity, 1835 - 1939: a critical analysis. PhD Thesis. Stirling: University of Stirling
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 11:54