Scottish Life and Society: A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology

Scottish Life & Society: A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology is the main publication project of the European Ethnological Research Centre.

Whilst working as Senior Assistant Editor of the Scottish National Dictionary, Professor Alexander Fenton came to appreciate the importance of the material objects that lay behind the words in the dictionary. He also recognised the value of systematically organising data from sources of all possible kinds. Following his later work at the National Museum of Antiquities, Professor Fenton set up what is now known as the Scottish Life Archive, which holds both documents and objects. His experience led him to gather these approaches together to inform the current state of knowledge on Scottish ethnology.

This project was initially conceived as an alphabetical lexicon. However, it soon became apparent that a thematic approach would be more useful for the reader, allowing them to access material on topics which interest them. This thematic approach also coordinates with a similar project over eight volumes carried out in Hungary by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest.

The structure of the series covers both rural and urban Scotland across a variety of spheres including the domestic, the communal, the individual, the working-life, and many others. The extent of ethnological knowledge gained from the early collections of material objects is reflected in the series. For example, the extensive holdings of museums and the scholarship on the material culture of rural Scotland means that farming and rural life are considered in a single volume - although it is true to say that aspects of these themes are treated in other volumes in the series. In a similar vein, the collections of the School of Scottish Studies of the University of Edinburgh and the work of collectors of narrative and song are considered in a volume dedicated to the theme of oral literature and performance culture. The impact on the life of the Scots of some of the main national institutions is examined in three self-contained volumes on education, religion, and the law (the latter yet to be published). A bibliography of Scottish ethnology also forms part of the series and is itself organised into themes.

The final volume to be written will, perhaps surprisingly, be the introductory volume. It is intended that as well as providing an indication of the scope and scale of Scottish ethnology as set-out in the series, this volume will engage with the theoretical underpinnings of the discipline.

Once complete, the series will amount to approximately three million words and some 1,500 illustrations. The volumes that have been published so far are being used for teaching in Scottish Universities. They are also available across a wide range of local libraries and bookshops, thereby reaching a general readership - which is one of the aims of the project.

The scope and objectives of the project can perhaps best be summarised by quoting from the launch event for Volume 11 at which Sir William Kerr Fraser outlined the aim of the Compendium of Scottish Ethnology as being to "feed back to the people of Scotland in analysed form some of the tremendous body of material that has been gathered from them, and at the same time to provide comparative information about Scotland for researchers in other countries".

A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology

  • Cover scan of Scottish Life And Society
    Scottish Life And Society: Religion: A Compendium Of Scottish Ethnology - Hardback
    Throughout the centuries, the influence of religion on Scottish life and society has been profound. Appreciating how it has shaped the past, and continues to inform the present, is crucial to understanding the development of Scotland.
  • Cover scan of Scottish Life And Society
    Scottish Life And Society: Bibliography: A Compendium Of Scottish Ethnology - Hardback
    The need for a Bibliography for Scottish Ethnology, to serve national as well as international purposes, has long been felt. This compilation, primarily of Scottish but with some comparative material, makes a substantial contribution to the resources avai
  • Cover scan of Scotland's Domestic Life
    Scottish Life And Society: Scotland's Domestic Life: A Compendium Of Scottish Ethnology - Hardback
    The story of 'home-life' in Scotland is one which is familiar and varied. This volume considers Scotland's domestic life by examining that variety and considering changes in the structures in which Scots have lived and the ways in which they have lived in those homes.
  • Cover scan of Scottish Life And Society
    Scottish Life And Society: The Individual and Community Life: A Compendium Of Scottish Ethnology - Hardback
    In life there are events common to all individuals as a consequence of the simple fact that they are alive. Study of the ways in which these common events affect different individuals of differing backgrounds helps to guide us to a more informed understan
  • Cover scan of Oral Literature and Performance Culture
    Scottish Life And Society: Oral Literature and Performance Culture: A Compendium Of Scottish Ethnology - Hardback
    Bringing together a series of essays by a diverse range of authors on the themes of oral literature and performance culture, this volume covers topics such as narrative collection and performance, music (traditional, folk and classical), Gaelic song and verse, ballads, bothy ballads, chapbooks, child lore, dance and theatre and drama.
  • Cover scan of Scottish Life And Society
    Scottish Life And Society: A Compendium Of Scottish Ethnology - Hardback
    This volume brings together a team of contributors, who were each asked to prepare their chapter with a particular slant, so that Scottish education at all levels could be related to change.

Volume 3: Scotland's Buildings

Scottish Life and Society: Scottish Buildings

Volume 6: Scotland's Domestic Life

Scottish Life and Society: Domestic Life

Volume 9: The Individual and Community Life

Scottish Life and Society: Individual and Community Life

Volume 10: Oral Literature and Performance Culture

Scottish life and Society: Oral Literature and Performance Culture

Volume 11:Education

Scottish Life and Society: Education

Volume 12: Religion

Scottish Life and Society: Religion

Volume 14: Bibliography

Scottish Life and Society: Bibiography