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TITLE
What are the similarities/differences between the emigrant experience today/early 19th century? - Angela McCarthy
EXTERNAL ID
AB_SGI_08_ANGELA_MCCARTHY_Q_05
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Angela McCarthy
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1504
KEYWORDS
conferences
emigration
lecturers
audio
audios
emigrantexperience

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As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad.

Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Professor Angela McCarthy answers the question:

'Could you list some of the similarities and differences between the emigrant experience today and, say, the early nineteenth century?'

'Possibly some of similarities that migrants - probably a mixture - some who are quite well-informed about the potential destinations that are there for them, if we're thinking of migrants who have a degree of choice in moving - so, some would have, obviously, quite a bit of knowledge; some may be less well informed, and I think we get that probably in both, both centuries. I think the networks of family and friends that exist abroad are still important, and, to a degree, influential today, as it was back in the nineteenth century. Definitely that came through for the letters of Irish migrants that I looked at; that these family contacts were really important in the nineteenth century. And then looking at the project on twentieth-century Scottish and Irish migration - again those sort of networks were really influential in determining where migrants went to and what they knew about a potential destination, and encouraging their movement. And I think too if we look at the types of material like personal letters, a lot of the same themes come through for the nineteenth century experience as well as the twentieth century. And I was quite struck by this from a sequence of letters from Lorna Carter who was a Scots woman who went to New Zealand in the 1950s, and she wrote home a huge series of letters that she gave to me, and in one of the letters towards the end of her, you know, series, she said that she was given, or had the chance to look at, a nineteenth-century sequence of letters, and she actually refers in her correspondence to how many of the same themes actually, you know, preoccupied nineteenth-century migrants as much as herself. So, you know, the climate, the lifestyle, the housing, occupations - those types of issues, you know, that come, come through.

And probably another similarity would be the prejudice that some migrant groups, I think, experience today as well as in the past. And, you know, that comes up particularly in New Zealand where we have a very strong Asian migration there at the moment which politically actually causes some, you know, issues there. And in the past Irish migrants in New Zealand weren't quite, I suppose, discriminated against to the same degree as they were elsewhere, but there are elements of that, you know, that can be seen there as well. And also the Scots, you know, they sort of get a bit of ribbing for the typical clannishness and frugality that, you know, comes through in sources.

I suppose some of the differences; definitely the technology of travel and communication has changed. So, whereas we had those really lengthy voyages to New Zealand in particular, New Zealand and Australia, in the nineteenth century, you can be here now in twenty-four hours, you know, city to city basically - Auckland to London, twenty-four hours. So that would be a significant difference that is there. And that, I think, means that the propensity to be able to make multiple journeys and return, is a lot easier than it was in the past, although obviously the cost of that is still an issue, you know, to be able to do that. And I think, too, the faster, just thinking of the letters, the faster exchange of knowledge that in the past it took so many months for letters to be delivered. They would be, they would go missing, addresses may not be found, you know, in remote locations etc., so I think now with internet technology, email, telephones, that type of thing has really changed things quite dramatically.'


BIOGRAPHY

Angela McCarthy is Professor of Scottish and Irish History at the University of Otago, where she teaches courses on Scottish history and Scottish and Irish migration. She is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on Scottish migration, including 'Personal Narratives of Irish and Scottish Migration, 1921-65: For Spirit and Adventure' (2007) and 'A Global Clan: Scottish Migrant Networks and Identities Since the Eighteenth Century' (2006).

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What are the similarities/differences between the emigrant experience today/early 19th century? - Angela McCarthy

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

2000s

conferences; emigration; lecturers; audio; audios; emigrantexperience;

Am Baile

Scotland's Global Impact

As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad. <br /> <br /> Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Professor Angela McCarthy answers the question:<br /> <br /> 'Could you list some of the similarities and differences between the emigrant experience today and, say, the early nineteenth century?'<br /> <br /> 'Possibly some of similarities that migrants - probably a mixture - some who are quite well-informed about the potential destinations that are there for them, if we're thinking of migrants who have a degree of choice in moving - so, some would have, obviously, quite a bit of knowledge; some may be less well informed, and I think we get that probably in both, both centuries. I think the networks of family and friends that exist abroad are still important, and, to a degree, influential today, as it was back in the nineteenth century. Definitely that came through for the letters of Irish migrants that I looked at; that these family contacts were really important in the nineteenth century. And then looking at the project on twentieth-century Scottish and Irish migration - again those sort of networks were really influential in determining where migrants went to and what they knew about a potential destination, and encouraging their movement. And I think too if we look at the types of material like personal letters, a lot of the same themes come through for the nineteenth century experience as well as the twentieth century. And I was quite struck by this from a sequence of letters from Lorna Carter who was a Scots woman who went to New Zealand in the 1950s, and she wrote home a huge series of letters that she gave to me, and in one of the letters towards the end of her, you know, series, she said that she was given, or had the chance to look at, a nineteenth-century sequence of letters, and she actually refers in her correspondence to how many of the same themes actually, you know, preoccupied nineteenth-century migrants as much as herself. So, you know, the climate, the lifestyle, the housing, occupations - those types of issues, you know, that come, come through.<br /> <br /> And probably another similarity would be the prejudice that some migrant groups, I think, experience today as well as in the past. And, you know, that comes up particularly in New Zealand where we have a very strong Asian migration there at the moment which politically actually causes some, you know, issues there. And in the past Irish migrants in New Zealand weren't quite, I suppose, discriminated against to the same degree as they were elsewhere, but there are elements of that, you know, that can be seen there as well. And also the Scots, you know, they sort of get a bit of ribbing for the typical clannishness and frugality that, you know, comes through in sources.<br /> <br /> I suppose some of the differences; definitely the technology of travel and communication has changed. So, whereas we had those really lengthy voyages to New Zealand in particular, New Zealand and Australia, in the nineteenth century, you can be here now in twenty-four hours, you know, city to city basically - Auckland to London, twenty-four hours. So that would be a significant difference that is there. And that, I think, means that the propensity to be able to make multiple journeys and return, is a lot easier than it was in the past, although obviously the cost of that is still an issue, you know, to be able to do that. And I think, too, the faster, just thinking of the letters, the faster exchange of knowledge that in the past it took so many months for letters to be delivered. They would be, they would go missing, addresses may not be found, you know, in remote locations etc., so I think now with internet technology, email, telephones, that type of thing has really changed things quite dramatically.'<br /> <br /> <br /> BIOGRAPHY<br /> <br /> Angela McCarthy is Professor of Scottish and Irish History at the University of Otago, where she teaches courses on Scottish history and Scottish and Irish migration. She is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on Scottish migration, including 'Personal Narratives of Irish and Scottish Migration, 1921-65: For Spirit and Adventure' (2007) and 'A Global Clan: Scottish Migrant Networks and Identities Since the Eighteenth Century' (2006).