Key Points

  • Narratives accounts of Scotland, our history, are deemed incomplete, consisting of wilful fragments.
  • There is a strong vein of cultural pessimism running through Scottish intellectual life, partly but not entirely driven by political analysis.
  • Two cultural formations, kailyard and tartanry, are considered to be especially powerful, and negative, in their effects.
  • Nevertheless, there are alternative accounts which argue that social and cultural realities are far more subtle and complex in modern Scotland.
  • Scots and Scotland provides a key ‘site of memory’ for many Europeans.