Locating authenticities : a study of the ideological construction of professionalised folk music in Scotland
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McLaughlin, Sean Robert
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In the last forty years, there has been a steady increase in research on Scottish traditions of music and song. Growing from its roots in ‘collection’, the field (in Scotland) has been dominated by rather limiting methodological approaches. The study of Scottish folk music has seriously neglected post-‐1960s cultural practices and the influences of hybridisation, professionalisation and commercialisation. These and related areas of the field are largely uncharted in departments of Music and Scottish Studies. One result, stemming from this problem, is a continuing confusion in the use of descriptive and ideological terms. ‘Folk music’ is the most widely used concept and its problematic and elusive meaning, its function for and understanding by industry professionals, is the focal point of this thesis. The aims of this thesis are to position current understandings of ‘folk’ as a term and a practice in the wider social and historical contexts of British folk music and to investigate the ways in which the discursive history of folk music informs contemporary cultural practices. My objective was to uncover, in particular, what, according to today’s performers and other industry participants, gives Scottish folk music its contemporary meaning. My thesis is designed to shed new light on the ideological and aesthetic constructions of folk music in Scotland.