Yeah, I can say something about that if you like. (laughs) I referred a little earlier in our conversation to the features and impulses of the 1940s and 1950s, as far as technology and cooperation and teamwork and so on were concerned, and it’s also important to think about the kind of Scotland that we had at that time. People’s aspirations were changing quite a lot. People had had experiences, either at home or abroad, during the war which altered their life aspirations and so on so there were changes afoot within Scotland, certain demographic changes. The emphasis on the development of hydro power and coming of electricity to communities that hadn’t had it before ... Increased reliance on forms of media like radio and television and so on, altered the way in which people passed their time and that was bound to have an effect on aspects of transmission of features of oral culture. The influence on language from other forms of media too was seen. Of course that wasn’t a new thing at that time but perhaps we can say that the speed with which change was taking place was greater perhaps than in the past. And so it’s correct to say that in the early days of the School of Scottish Studies there was a feeling and quite a profound feeling that there were certain aspects of the way of life, in terms of material culture and social organisation and so on, that were changing radically. There were types of oral tradition that were not being heard as much so there was a kind of a sense of a rescue mission at the start.

  • Margaret Mackay
Thursday 17th June 2010