Andrew Dawson, York University
The culture of honour thesis suggests that regions in the American South with a significant amount of Scotch-Irish immigration between the late-seventeenth and the early-nineteenth centuries are more violent today due to the cultural legacy of the Scotch-Irish migrants. It is argued that this culture of honour, originally developed as a defense mechanism against victimization due to certain structural conditions in the old country, has been entrenched in Southern culture and has therefore resulted in a population that is more prone to violence. To test this thesis, I examine another region of the Americas that experienced significant Scotch-Irish immigration between the late-seventeenth and the early-nineteenth centuries – Nova Scotia. Drawing upon archival data, I construct an annual homicide rate series for Nova Scotia from 1749 to 2015. Preliminary comparisons suggest that since the mid-1700s, Nova Scotia has consistently had considerably lower homicide rates than the regions in the American South with historically significant Scotch-Irish influence. The results therefore suggest that a culture of honour due to a Scotch-Irish cultural legacy is not a strong explanatory factor of violence in Nova Scotia. Indeed, the similarities in the homicide rate trajectories of Nova Scotia and Upper Canada/Ontario suggest that other factors are paramount in explaining Nova Scotian homicide levels and fluctuations over time.
No extended abstract or paper available
Presented in Session 12. Violence and Fraud