Imperialism and identities
in The Scots in South Africa
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This chapter begins with a discussion of Scottish involvement in the British Empire. It then considers whether there was a distinct Scottish identity which was maintained, promoted or even developed at the so-called periphery of empire, and argues that, for good or ill, Scots contributed more powerfully than their numbers would suggest to the processes of westernisation and modernisation in southern Africa. Through their linguistic and ethnographic activities, particularly in the context of the frontier missions, they had a considerable influence upon attitudes to African peoples, to the classic nineteenth-century activity, derived from the Enlightenment, of creating taxonomies and stereotypes for humans as much as for the phenomena of the natural world. Such activities led to strong, though inevitably diverse, ideas about the frontier, African administration, labour policy and much else.

The Scots in South Africa

Ethnicity, identity, gender and race, 1772–1914


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