Panel 11: Mediating the Nation

Abstract Title

Outlander and the Visual Representation of Scottish/British Identity Politics

Presenter Information

Alexandra GarnerFollow

Start Date

15-2-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

15-2-2015 3:20 PM

Abstract

This paper examines the Starz television adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s time-traveling historical romance series Outlander in conjunction with Scotland’s independence referendum from September 2014. I consider the significance of airing a television program with explicit pro-Scottish independence associations during the campaign season for this important referendum. Because Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom, any argument about the influence of the show on voters’ decisions is moot. However, the pro-independence sentiments of the series remain worth examination, as the hegemonic influence of such media on its consumers cannot be overstated.

Notably, the series has yet to air in the UK, showing internationally both concurrently with the US release and more recently. Gabaldon herself speculated as to whether the referendum was a reason for not airing the show in the UK, indicating a connection between the two. This paper examines international opinions of the show and its relevance to the referendum. Using forum and message board responses to the show as well as analyses of Outlander depictions of Scottish-British tensions, I argue that this series problematizes a British identity for modern viewers.

Outlander represents a tension between Scottish independence and British multi-nationalism, and the nuances of the show’s depiction of Scottish-English relations assist in creating a timely re-visitation of the Scottish question. This paper consider a globalized conception of British national identity from several perspectives, and I assess the relationship of the tensions portrayed on Outlander with a shifting global understanding of the United Kingdom’s regional conflicts. This paper does not argue that Outlander is or is not locally responsible for the results of the Scottish independence referendum, but rather suggests that at such a crucial time for this vote and after it, Outlander complicates global impressions of the Scottish-English relationship.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Feb 15th, 2:00 PM Feb 15th, 3:20 PM

Outlander and the Visual Representation of Scottish/British Identity Politics

This paper examines the Starz television adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s time-traveling historical romance series Outlander in conjunction with Scotland’s independence referendum from September 2014. I consider the significance of airing a television program with explicit pro-Scottish independence associations during the campaign season for this important referendum. Because Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom, any argument about the influence of the show on voters’ decisions is moot. However, the pro-independence sentiments of the series remain worth examination, as the hegemonic influence of such media on its consumers cannot be overstated.

Notably, the series has yet to air in the UK, showing internationally both concurrently with the US release and more recently. Gabaldon herself speculated as to whether the referendum was a reason for not airing the show in the UK, indicating a connection between the two. This paper examines international opinions of the show and its relevance to the referendum. Using forum and message board responses to the show as well as analyses of Outlander depictions of Scottish-British tensions, I argue that this series problematizes a British identity for modern viewers.

Outlander represents a tension between Scottish independence and British multi-nationalism, and the nuances of the show’s depiction of Scottish-English relations assist in creating a timely re-visitation of the Scottish question. This paper consider a globalized conception of British national identity from several perspectives, and I assess the relationship of the tensions portrayed on Outlander with a shifting global understanding of the United Kingdom’s regional conflicts. This paper does not argue that Outlander is or is not locally responsible for the results of the Scottish independence referendum, but rather suggests that at such a crucial time for this vote and after it, Outlander complicates global impressions of the Scottish-English relationship.