Working Places: Competing Claims to Land and Nature in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland

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2008
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Abstract
"Drawing on field work carried out over the past 13 years in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, and with reference to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act where community rights to land are central, the paper explores how the North Harris Trust (NHT) is reworking rights to land and nature. The NHT took over ownership of the 55,000 acre North Harris Estate in 2003 and has been at the forefront of initiatives to work the land collectively. Specific initiatives have included working the wind as a source of renewable energy and working the wild in such a way as to decolonize conservationist prescriptions. Both sets of initiatives seek to achieve more socially just and sustainable futures. In terms of theory, the paper works with Michel Foucault's ideas of the norm and Judith Butlers (2004) exploration of the political possibilities that are created by disturbing the norm. I examine how the doing of a particular set of social relations, here pertaining to community land tenure, undoes prevailing neoliberal norms of property and nature that rely on privatisation and enclosure."
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land tenure and use, social networks
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