Landscapes of Protest in the Scottish Highlands after 1914

Robertson, Iain J (2013) Landscapes of Protest in the Scottish Highlands after 1914. Studies in Historical Geography . Ashgate. ISBN 978-1472411372

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Abstract

In November 1918, the implementation of agrarian change in the Scottish Highlands threatened another wave of unemployment and eviction for the land-working population, which led to widespread and varied social protest. Those who had been away on war service (and their families) faced returning to exactly the same social and economic conditions in the Scottish Highlands they had hoped they had left behind in the struggle to make ‘a land fit for heroes’. Widespread and varied social protest rapidly followed. It argues that, previously, there has been a failure to capture fully the geography, chronology typology and rate of occurrence of these events. The book not only offers new insights and a greater understanding of what was happening in the Highlands in this period, but illustrates how a range of forms of protest were used which demand attention, not least for the fact that these events, unlike most of the earlier Land Wars period, were successful. There are functioning townships in the Highlands today that owe their existence to the land invasions of the 1920s. The book innovatively concentrates on formulating explanation and interpretation from within and looks to the crofting landscape as base, means and motive to disturbance and interpretation. It proposes that protest is much more convincingly understood as an expression of environmental ethics from 'the bottom up' coming increasingly into conflict with conservationist views expressed from 'the top down' It focuses on individual case studies in order to engage more convincingly with an important evidential base - that of popular memory of land disturbances - and to adopt a frame and lens through which to explore the fluid and contingent nature of protest performances. Based upon the belief that in the study of landscapes of social protest the old shibboleth of space as solely passive setting and symbolic register is no longer tenable is paid here to nature/culture interactions, to vernacular ecological beliefs and to the dynamic and formative role of landscape in people’s lifespaces. It suggests reading and engaging with event as text in anticipation of revealing their fluid and contingent nature rather than, as has previously been done, imposing single master narratives. Critically, this book draws on oral testimony. The view taken here is that historical events are dynamic. While written, primary source material is nearly always static - recording only particular 'moments' of an incident - oral testimony captures different 'moments' of the same event and, if interwoven with the written archival material as here proposed, can only enrich our understanding.

Item Type: Book
Additional Information: Contents: Introduction; Part I The Background: Agrarian change and rural social protest in Highland Scotland c.1700-1914; Protest paradigms. Part II Highland Social Protest after 1914: Detail and Debates: Performing protest; The geography of protest: regional and intra-regional perspectives; Testing the protest paradigm. Part III Protesting Bodies: Performing Tasks in Place and Space: Placing and anatomising protest; Spacing and dwelling: performing protest’s tasks in the crofting landscape; Conclusions; Bibliography; Index.About the Author: Iain Robertson is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Gloucestershire, UK.Reviews: Shortlisted for the Saltire Society Research Book of the Year Award 2014
Uncontrolled Keywords: REF2014 Submission
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Liberal and Performance Arts > Religious, Philosophical and Historical Studies
Research Priority Areas: Being Human - Past, Present & Future
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2015 11:36
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2017 10:08
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/2590

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