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Resisting Traditions: Ceramics, Identity, and Consumer Choice in the Outer Hebrides from 1800 to the Present

by Jane Webster
International Journal of Historical Archaeology ()


On a number of levels, "peripheral" status has been imposed on the Outer Hebrides (Scotland) since the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745. Drawing on a series of interviews with Hebridean families, this paper explores the changing meanings of ceramics imported into the islands from the early nineteenth century and displayed on wooden dressers. It is argued that in renegotiating their identity in the face of a series of externally generated economic changes, rural communities in the Hebrides have acted as thoughtful consumers, appropriating mainland material culture to their own ends. Throughout this process, imports have behaved ambiguously. This ambiguity is crucial to our understanding of the relationship—here characterized not as "resistance" but as "resistant adaptation"—between the Hebrides and the mainland.

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