More than Just Hot Air?: Oral History, Cultural Rhetoric, and the Preservation of Lexington’s Scottish Bagpipe Heritage
Though Lexington, Kentucky, is an extremely diverse city, few residents actually know the unique histories behind the ethnic communities that enrich it. When I discovered the oral history of Scottish activist and pipe band founder William “Bill” Reid in my writing course, I was amazed that such an incredible tale of cultural preservation in the Bluegrass could go unheard. The following essay contextualizes Bill Reid’s story with primary-source interviews of family members and musicians and analyzes those histories through Kenneth Burke’s theory of identification, as outlined in A Rhetoric of Motives. This case study argues how the continuance of Reid’s pipe band stands out as a symbol of the cultural rhetoric used to forge unique ethnic identities across the states and highlights a rhetorical pattern of identification useful to scholars studying modes of assimilation and acculturation.
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