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Peripheral visions? Alternative film in a stateless nation.

MacPherson, Robin


Robin MacPherson


Chris Atton


Scotland is a small, stateless nation whose mainstream media and national cinema have generally been positioned by media scholars as constituting an alternative to the UK’s metropolitan mainstream. Consequently the specificity of alternative practices and the dual identity of Scottish media (as both mainstream and alternative) has largely been overlooked. Focusing on the development of filmmaking this essay argues that alternative practices developed later, more erratically and less sustainably in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK because of its subordinate position within the wider political economy of the British media. It argues that the very underdevelopment of Scotland’s mainstream film and broadcast media sector has, in a seeming paradox, served to inhibit alternatives; that the pursuit of a ‘national cinema’ has helped displace more radical practices; and, though at key moments metropolitan institutions and public funding have been progressive influences on Scottish film, they have also helped to ensure its integration within a UK media system which assigns it a subordinate and limited role. The essay concludes by questioning whether the apparently greater freedom afforded by new technologies and lower entry costs are as progressive as they seem.

Publication Date May 28, 2015
Deposit Date Jun 2, 2015
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 268-277
Book Title The Routledge Companion to Alternative and Community Media
ISBN 978-0-415-64404-4
Keywords media; alternative media; film; Scotland;
Public URL