Recognising and reconstituting Gàidheil ethnicity

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    6 Citations (Scopus)
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    This article analyses some claims made about the Gàidheal identity in Scotland, with particular reflection on a distinct ‘sociolinguistic turn’ within Gàidhlig studies and related research over the last two decades. Through critical analysis of a major sociological survey on the structuring of various markers in framing Gàidheal identity, a normative basis is provided to then assess other identity classifications made by some academics whose work is focussed on the single identity-marker of the Gàidhlig language. It is argued that identity claims predicated on the specific nature of the Gàidhlig sociolinguistic turn fail to capture the complex reality and living histories of actual Gàidheal identities (and claims on those identities), in particular, the socio-cultural importance of place-based practices and understandings. Recent proposals for a Gàidheal ethnolinguistic assembly may enable modes of articulation and recognition to develop which better capture those realities, as well as supporting societal and linguistic regeneration among the indigenous group.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number4
    Pages (from-to)212-230
    Number of pages19
    JournalScottish Affairs
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in Scottish Affairs. The Version of Record is available online at:

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    • Ethnicity
    • Ethnolinguistic
    • Gaelic
    • Identity
    • Recognition
    • Sociolinguistic turn

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Linguistics and Language
    • Sociology and Political Science


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