Emigrants carried a rich array of associations with them to the new worlds in which they settled, often ‘clubbing together’ along ethnic lines shortly after first foot fall. Yet while a crucial element of immigrant community life, one of the richest examples, that of Scottish migrants, has received only patchy coverage. Moreover, no one has yet problematized Scottish associations, such as St Andrew’s societies or Burns clubs, as a series of transnational connections that were deeply rooted in the civic life of their respective communities. This book provides the first global study to capture the wider relevance of the Scots’ associationalism, arguing that associations and formal sociability are a key to explaining how migrants negotiated their ethnicity in the diaspora and connected to social structures in diverse settlements. Moving beyond the traditional nineteenth-century settler dominions, the book offers a unique comparative focus, bringing together Scotland’s near diaspora in England and Ireland with that in North America, Africa, and Australasia to assess the evolution of Scottish ethnic associations, as well as their diverse roles as sites of memory and expressions of civility. The book reveals that the structures offered by Scottish associations engaged directly with the local, New World contexts, developing distinct characteristics that cannot be subsumed under one simplistic label—that of an overseas ‘national society’. The book promotes understanding not only of Scottish ethnicity overseas, but also of how different types of ethnic associational activism made diaspora tangible.
1. The first global study of ethnic associationalism in the Scottish diaspora. 2. Transnational in scope, comparing developments in a broad range of locations. 3. Includes theoretical and conceptual discussions relating to diaspora, ethnicity, and associational culture. 4. Introduces novel concepts, for example that of ethnic associational activism, pioneering new ground in the historiography. 5. Includes figures of concepts introduced, as well as statistical analysis to provide context to the study.
Bueltmann's study is ultimately successful, largely because of the sophistication of her approach and the care with which she treats her evidence. Through a series of highly readable, illuminating, and novel case studies, she has demonstrated why ethnic associationalism should be taken more seriously and provides an exemplar of how we can approach such clubs and societies.
Australian Historical Studies