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How do we define a Scot?

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  • How do we define a Scot?

    Do we acknowledge "ethnic Scots" or is the term strictly national? I would suggest that its as a fluid term dependant on the context, A Scot in the eleventh century was a Gael, whether from Ireland or Britain, at least in ethnic terms, and today we have Americans who see themselves as not only Scots, but Germans, Greeks and Italians. Is it ever legitemate to exclaim greater Scottishness based on national status, ethnicity or culture? Or is it better to accept the elasticity and ambiguity of being Scottish?

  • #2
    you do not define scots at all

    you cant define something you know nothing about

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    • #3
      That kind of bypasses the entire concept of the thread. I wonder what contributers from elsewhere think about the difficulties involved in theattempted defining of a term that has so many nuances. Should it be limited to the understanding that some hold, or broadened to include the traditions of Scottishness on a globaly flexible set of nuances? If for instance, an American Scot was to invest in Scotland via tourism and saw Scottishness as central to their identity, is this counter toi the "true" meaning of being Scottish, or merely a different variant of the description? In a global village, identity becomes blurred at the edges and in a sense, we are all Scots, English and American.

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      • #4
        I'm Scottish - that's all that matters to me and I don't have to justify it to anyone or analyse it for anyone - end of story.

        Americans of Scottish descent, whether their Scottish ancestors went over in the 18th, 19th or 20th Centuries - are American. I suspect that there are very few Americans of 100% Scottish ancestry, they are likely to be half, quarter or eighth at most.

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        • #5
          I would rather define the parameters of the definition before attempting to define who was Scottish.

          Surely there are two points here: the difference between nationality and ethnicity and the choice over which is the definer in the absence of the other?

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          • #6
            In conventional usage a Scot is someone who comes from Scotland. That's the definition that is in the dictionary and it's the one that the vast majority of people are happy with. How Americans choose to see themselves is up to them - I would see them as American although I suppose if their parents were both Scottish I would accept it if they termed themselves as being Scots.
            "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

            - Martin Luther King Jr.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sgoinneil

              I wonder what contributers from elsewhere think about the difficulties involved in theattempted defining of a term that has so many nuances.


              It doesn't have any nuances as far as most people are concerned notwithstanding the subjective opinions of non Scots.



              Should it be limited to the understanding that some hold, or broadened to include the traditions of Scottishness on a globaly flexible set of nuances?

              It should be used in the same sense as other words pertaining to nationality such as Frenchman or German.
              "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

              - Martin Luther King Jr.

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              • #8
                So there cannot be such a person as an ethnic German Romanian citizen by birth?

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                • #9
                  I don't know but I'm Scottish and I'm not going to be losing sleep over semantics. I think if you suggested to the average Scottish person in the street that they weren't really a Scot they'd quite rightly look at you if you were a sandwich short of a picnic.
                  "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

                  - Martin Luther King Jr.

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                  • #10
                    The average Scot would depend on how a Scot was to be deined to begin with. Thankyou for sharing your thoughts.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sgoinneil

                      The average Scot would depend on how a Scot was to be deined to begin with. Thankyou for sharing your thoughts.


                      Pedantic to the point of perversity as always. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
                      "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

                      - Martin Luther King Jr.

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                      • #12
                        how would you define yourself Sg?

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                        • #13
                          Scottish

                          Seems fairly simple - Scottish if you were born in Scotland and live there and if you live in Kenya and did not become a Kenyan citizen you are still Scottish. If you became a Kenyan citizen then you would no longer be Scottish but a Kenyan of Scottish ethnicity.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sgoinneil View Post
                            So there cannot be such a person as an ethnic German Romanian citizen by birth?
                            Isn't that what Adolf Hitler forced on Europe ?

                            You fancy doing the same in Scotland ? See yourself as a would-be Reinhard Heydrich ? Or more likely - Artur Phleps, ethnic-German Romanian commander of the 7 SS-Freiwilligen-Gebirgs-Division Prinz Eugen ?

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                            • #15
                              Boy the semantics... and the animosity from previous thread spilling over.

                              It seems to be whether you define Scot as a national definition... meaning you were born in Scotland. Or... from a DNA standpoint... or a cultural standpoint.

                              Actually there are many Americans and Canadians with 100% Scottish ancestry despite generations removed. For example, England created a land grant here in NC and many Scots came here during the Clearances which is why this area was bilingual English/Gaelic until recent history. Many did not marry outside other people of Scottish ancestry.

                              As far as being Scottish descent. That's for the individual to decide and that's a personal choice and no one has the right to deny a person to practice their culture. I, myself, do dance, play shinty, and speak gaelic. That isn't all that encompasses the culture of Scotland but it is what has been passed down to me through my ancestors... despite where I was born, they are my ancestors, and no one can change that.

                              I do question the motivation behind some of these posts. Are they for reciprocity sake? or is their a motivation to create conflict?

                              I am usually one to go to bat for the Gaelic cause but I have noticed that many of the posts since I've decided to rejoin the discussion may have ulterior motives and that concerns me. This should be a forum of open discussion in hopes of seeking enlightenment... not a playground to cause strike.

                              Tig, I think I remember you saying your mother was a Gaelic speaker... I may be wrong. What area was she from?

                              I will be leaving for Scotland on Wednesday.... everyone please keep their eyes out for a cute, curly haired girl XD

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