Celtic Geographies: Old Culture, New Times

Celtic Geographies: Old Culture, New Times

Celtic Geographies: Old Culture, New Times

Celtic Geographies: Old Culture, New Times

Synopsis

This book critically examines the notion of Celticity from a geographical perspective and explores the ways an old culture is being reinvented to serve the needs of a particular group of people in modern times.

Excerpt

David C. Harvey, Rhys Jones, Neil McInroy and Christine Milligan

Recent years have seen an upsurge of interest in all things Celtic - providing a renewed impetus and vigour to Celtic studies, debates, culture and politics.Within the broad arena of Celtic culture, for instance, there have been sustained efforts to reinvigorate the indigenous languages of the various Celtic regions. The formation of the Welsh Language Board and TV Breizh - or Breton-language television - in recent years can be seen as examples of such attempts to promote the use of Celtic languages in both the public and the private sectors, making them more relevant to contemporary politics, commerce and culture. Allied to this have been the efforts to promote various other elements of Celtic culture - with regard to music, art and dance - and, moreover, to highlight the cultural commonalities that exist between the constituent Celtic countries.The cultural exchange schemes that operate between the various Celtic countries, for example, have led to an increased awareness among Celtic people of the cultures and art forms of their Celtic 'cousins'.This has, in many ways, helped to foster within the Celtic people a sense of cultural Pan-Celticism, one which can be represented by the dictum 'Six nations, one soul'.

A similar process of revitalisation has occurred in the context of Celtic politics. Though this is a process which has its roots in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there is no doubt that the current period has witnessed a further energisation of Celtic identity politics. This has been most clearly evident in the process of the devolution of power within the UK in 1997. Even though this process was couched in terms of democratising politics in the UK, it has served to emphasise the separateness of Scotland and Wales within the UK nation-state. Significantly, for many nationalists in both countries, devolution is seen to offer a space within which Celtic identities and politics may be sustained and developed. Indeed, one of the less publicised outcomes of the Good Friday Agreement over the position of Northern Ireland was the founding of an 'Irish -British Council'. Popularly known as the 'Council of the Isles', this statutory

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