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Visible Welshness : performing Welshness at the National Eisteddfod in the twentieth century / KIMBERLY BERNARD

Swansea University Author: KIMBERLY BERNARD

DOI (Published version): 10.23889/SUthesis.60378

Abstract

This thesis examines Welsh national identity in the twentieth century through the medium of the National Eisteddfod of Wales. The National Eisteddfod is arguably the largest cultural festival in Europe; it is certainly the largest cultural event in Wales. At the turn of the twentieth century it was...

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Published: Swansea 2004
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
Supervisor: Pritchard, Gareth
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa60378
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Abstract: This thesis examines Welsh national identity in the twentieth century through the medium of the National Eisteddfod of Wales. The National Eisteddfod is arguably the largest cultural festival in Europe; it is certainly the largest cultural event in Wales. At the turn of the twentieth century it was a popular festival but very different from its present form. During the course of the past century, the Eisteddfod has evolved into a highly symbolic Welsh-language festival, and one of the more powerful and evocative manifestations of Welsh language culture and nationhood. The ideological imperative given to the festival as a result of its perceived intrinsic connection to the language gives the Eisteddfod much its identity and its political power. However, language is not the only significant device through which the Eisteddfod has demonstrated Welshness; there are other, equally powerful, facets of Welsh identity that resonate from the festival. The chapters demonstrate these different elements, as well as the varied theoretical approaches I am taking in this process. The first chapter focuses heavily on historical cultural geography and looks at the role of location and place in Welsh identity in the twentieth century. The second chapter looks at various contemporary stereotypes of Welsh identity, using a post-colonial framework of Metropole and Periphery, and an emphasis on the role of binary juxtapositions in the construction of identity. Chapter three looks at various structural aspects of the festival itself, considering the formal performance of identity through the Eisteddfodic ritual. Chapter Four looks at the informal performances on the Eisteddfod field (Maes). Finally, the last chapter examines at the role of language and nationalism in the construction of modern Welsh identity. Together they paint a picture of the changing nature of Welsh culture and the correlated construction of identity during the twentieth century.
Item Description: A selection of third party content is redacted or is partially redacted from this thesis due to copyright restrictions.
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences