Oral tradition and the Scottish coal mines

Kearney, Peter (1985) Oral tradition and the Scottish coal mines. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

Work-based oral tradition in the Scottish mining industry developed historically. The roots of this tradition can be found in the culture of the independent collier artisan who existed prior to the industrial revolution. Through examining recent historical research and contemporary accounts, the miners' work culture can be seen as it developed from the early eighteenth century to cope with the pressures of industrial production methods and the consequent social changes. -- Oral tradition is a dynamic process which fuses both conservative and innovative elements. This process allowed the miners' work culture to develop and adapt to new social and economic situations. Often, however, where tradition interfered with the production process, attempts were made to eradicate it. In this case the miners suffered the same fate as other sections of the working class. However, the miners' unique social and cultural position between industrial worker and rural dweller ensured that a vigorous and lively oral tradition was maintained. The history of the miners' work culture can be linked, with the benefit of anthropological and folkloristic research, to field studies among living and working miners in order to chart its development. -- Through the accounts of present day miners of their life and work, a continuous process of tradition can be observed. How this tradition has developed and how it exists can be seen through the study of oral narrative, song and poetry. The unbroken line of tradition can be observed in detail as it functions within one family. How the oral history and tradition of the industry is passed on through narrative, song and poetry within the family can be seen through these artistic aspects of the work culture. Artistic oral communication exists within the mining industry, and is linked to the history of the industry. The content and sometimes the form of the expression of this tradition changes as social and economic relations change. However, the process of the traditions seems as likely to continue as the industry from which it developed.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8023
Item ID: 8023
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 379-396.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 1985
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Coal miners--Scotland--Folklore; Oral tradition--Scotland

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