National symbols: Scottish national identity in Dog Soldiers

Martin-Jones, D. (2007) National symbols: Scottish national identity in Dog Soldiers. Symbolism: An International Annual of Critical Aesthetics, 7, pp. 169-200.

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The majority of recent works to emerge on filmic representations of Scotland have examined examples of art cinema. By contrast this article analyses the horror film, Dog Soldiers (2001), contrasts it with a range of other thematically related films, and uncovers the contrary forces at work within it. These tensions reflect the difficulties surrounding the construction of a coherent narrative of national identity that arose with the devolution of Scotland from Britain in 1997-99. The film struggles to negotiate its place within a tradition of cinematic representations of Scotland, a tradition that has previously used the Highlands as an historically charged location in which to construct a unified sense of British identity. In this process the Anglo-centric symbolism of Tartanry has traditionally been prominent. Dog Soldiers however, whilst apparently endorsing this unifying and consumerist symbolism of Scotland, also deconstructs its meaning. It is specifically its generic status as horror film that enables it to do so. The symbolism surrounding the werewolf enables the film to rewrite the monstrous return of a previously repressed Scottish history, and national identity, after Britain.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Martin-Jones, Professor David
Authors: Martin-Jones, D.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Journal Name:Symbolism: An International Annual of Critical Aesthetics

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