Tuesday, August 6, 2013

BBC Scotland, A Technical Role Model, & Industrialization | A Journey to Scotland

A flashback to Dundee - Daria and Chris being goofy at our farewell dinner. Photo credit: Irma Bektic

The journal below covers my activities from 31 July - 1 August. I spent the 31st sick in my room, so I have to borrow some photos and information from my peers. Thanks for reading as always!

The BBC Scotland

BBC Scotland - Pedro Zamora Albor
I spent the day in my room sick, unfortunately. I was really disappointed to miss out on both the Riverside Museum and the trip to the BBC. The BBC Studios trip in particular was of much interest to me; since I missed out on the tour, I decided to do a bit of my own research to reflect on in my daily journal. I found all of the following information on the BBC Scotland website. In the opening question provided in the FAQ, BBC Scotland asserts is goal to provide programming that remains true to Scottish culture, thus at times meaning that certain programs will not be aired. By placing an emphasis on Scottish culture and programming, the BBC is working in part to preserve Scottish culture. Once again, subtleties in day-to-day Scottish life offer an outsider an image of a Scotland moving towards independence, whether the nation knows it yet or not. Furthermore, BBC Scotland offers programming in Gaelic. In my opinion, this is truly valuable; not only does the BBC value all Scots in doing this, they are also working to preserve a language that has a minority of speakers. I was surprised at the number of Scots who do not speak Gaelic, so I think that it is brilliant that the BBC is working to preserve the language and reach out to all viewers. Though this research is surface level, I was happy to at least get a bit of information on the institution. The BBC Scotland actually provided books on the history and functions of the BBC to all of the Fulbright participants, so I will definitely be reading up on that in due time. 

Industrialized Scotland

A touch of modernism - facial laser scan at University
of Dundee. Photo Credit: Anna Courchaine
Professor Richard Finlay taught today’s class; we focused on immigration and urbanization. First, we defined a few terms to help us understand the context of the class. Urbanization is simply the process in which a population moves out of the rural countryside and into the city. Industrialization is the move from an agriculturally based economy to an economy based on industry and production. This transformation in Scotland took place over the course of 100 years between 1750 and 1850. In addition to industrialization, Scotland witnessed the modernization of agriculture, and soon Scotland jumped from being a peripheral northern European country to being at the forefront of the technical world (a statement on Scottish innovation). Land was no longer considered wealth; an importance of sophistication emerged. The new question was what you did with your land. Simply owning land was not enough. Along with sophistication came the move towards materialism, something I feel that is close to home. American society is driven by material wealth represented via what you own and what you can show off to others. Though this marks development, I often wonder what a developed world with less of an emphasis on material wealth would look like. I doubt we’ll see this anytime soon, but it is an interesting question nonetheless. With this move to materialism, estates were no longer a social obligation; in other words, land owners no longer “had” to provide land to peasants. The race for wealth trumped all else. I personally view this as a dark but necessary time in Scottish history. Professor Finlay emphasized the evils of industrialization, such as disease, lack of education, and malnutrition; however, he also described the Irish potato famine as a result of a failure to industrialize. While industrialization, urbanization, materialism, and modernization have horrendous consequences, a failure to become modern leaves a nation in the third world with even more issues. It is a blessing and a curse simultaneously. 

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