For many Scots in New Zealand the Scottish nation was not just a political entity they left when they emigrated; it was also an identitarian construct comprized of a distinct culture. By focusing on those Scots who chose to actively maintain their national identity through associational culture, this article develops the idea of the ‘identitarian nation’ as a key analytical category for inquiry. In so doing the study moves beyond the romanticized, shortbread-tin facade frequently associated with Scottish identity. The identitarian nation was a usable reference point for the Scots. It was utilized to evoke the past, but also served strategically in the new environment as a tool of adjustment. Characterizations of Scottish expatriate identity that only emphasize emotions and nostalgia are misleading. Scottish national identity in New Zealand was characterized by a strong functional element. Many associations, especially Caledonian societies, transcended the national purpose they promoted at the outset. Associationalism was a mode of entry to a more or less exclusively defined collective in which other benefits could be cultivated, with the identitarian nation helping to overcome the potentially fracturing effects of setting up home in an alien world.
|Journal||New Zealand Journal of History|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2009|