Rural Identity in the Twenty-first Century: A Community of Crofters or Crofting Communities?

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Abstract:

Crofting has been subjected to a specific regulatory regime in Scots law since the introduction of the Crofters' Holdings (Scotland) Act in 1886. The Act, introduced in response to the devastation caused by the Highland clearances, provided for security of tenure and associated rights and now provides for full ownership on both individual and collective bases. Consequently, the legal framework incorporates two distinct forms of crofting identity: one based on the crofting function and the other on a broader, place-based definition incorporating all who live within crofting communities. Used as a basis for policymaking, each definition gives rise to different outcomes. In this paper, we use empirical research to show how such distinctions are manifested in specific conflicts of interest within contemporary crofting communities. This analysis is intended to inform the current debate surrounding the future of crofting as well as to contribute to the wider literature on the use of identity in the process of resource allocation.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2010.00523.x

Affiliations: 1: School of Law, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland, Email: n.e.busby@stir.ac.uk 2: Centre for Mountain Studies, UHI Millennium Institute, Crieff Road, Perth PH1 2NX, Scotland, Email: Calum.Macleod@perth.uhi.ac.uk

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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