Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
In this thesis, I present ethnic identity as one aspect of a multifaceted personal identity, subject to constant change through processes of construction ad reconstruction occurring within specific social, historical, economic and political contexts. My analysis is based on fieldwork interviews conducted with Scots in Hamilton, Ontario, who migrated to Canada after World War II.
Two primary themes emerged from respondents' statements concerning migration and settlement in Canada. The first concerns changes in self-identification occuring in relation to processes of migration. The salience of in-group differences decreases for Scots with migration to Canada, accompanied by an increased identification with a perceived Scottish collectivity in Canada.
The second theme concerns the display of ethnic identity. Scots in Hamilton may voluntarily choose to express ethnic identity through the appropriation and manipulation of certain ethnic symbols and their combinations. The nature of this display varies in relation to other elements of personal identity, including gender and social class. One interpretation of these differences provided by Scottish respondents centers around social mobility and societal expectations for members of different social classes.
Furthermore, the reification of a popular Scottish culture within Canada lends itself to the appropriation and manipulation of Scottish ethnic symbolism by non-Scots.
In conclusion, I provide several suggestions as to the role and importance of ethnic identity in a contemporary Canadian society of blurred cultural boundaries. I also promote further study on variation in ethnic identification along lines of gender and social class.
Epp, Timothy D., "Ethnic Identity as Process: The Ethnic Self and Other as Perceived by Scots in Hamilton" (1994). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7010.
McMaster University Library