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A history of everyday life in twentieth-century Scotland by Lynn Abrams; Callum G Brown

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By Lynn Abrams; Callum G Brown

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Although there were significant numbers of immigrants (from Ireland, England and eastern Europe especially), what we now understand as ‘ethnic composition’ was fairly uniform. The ethnic composition of Scotland, like the rest of western Europe, changed dramatically in the last four decades of the century, resulting mainly from large-scale immigration from former British colonies. Yet, Scotland remained more uniformly white than most other European countries. 7 But the religious diversity of Scotland was much greater than its ethnic diversity.

Brown INTRODUCTION The historian of the twentieth century has a great opportunity to chart everyday life through statistics. This is the more useful for the unprecedented transformations that were experienced. Scotland was no exception to this, and in some respects distinctive. This chapter will survey some of the key elements of change in everyday experience in twentieth-century Scotland by pulling together a range of quantitative materials on life which, for the most part, have not been collated over the whole century, nor in the detailed, usually year-by-year, format in which they are displayed here.

Other changes to scripts are reviewed in relation to masculinity, work, to the conceptions of religion and culture. The script examined in each chapter expresses particular beliefs, ideologies, conformities and emotions. This can be seen in Elaine McFarland’s chapter in which she describes changes in death and mourning rituals. But not everything is scripted. In opposition to such rituals and routines are what Cohen and Taylor describe as ‘free areas’; places and activities where we are less in thrall to commonly recognised behavioural rituals and can express ourselves more freely and safely.

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