Power, community andPower, community and
land reform in Scotlandland reform in Scotland
Tim Braunholtz-SpeightTim Braunholtz-Speight
PhD student (part-time)PhD student (part-time)
UHI Centre for Remote and Rural StudiesUHI Centre for Remote and Rural Studies
Inverness College UHIInverness College UHI
UHI Research and Postgraduate ConferenceUHI Research and Postgraduate Conference
COMMUNITIES, COASTS AND MOUNTAINSCOMMUNITIES, COASTS AND MOUNTAINS
Wednesday 27th – Friday 29th October 2010Wednesday 27th – Friday 29th October 2010
Moray College UHI, ElginMoray College UHI, Elgin
A wave of community land reform
• From Assynt Crofters’ Trust (1992) to 150+ rural
community groups owning land/assets
• Supported by Scottish Land Fund, HIE Community Land
Unit, and the Land Reform (Scotland) Act
• Highly charged debate over meaning and achievements
of land reform
Discourses of land reform
“Independence Day” on the
Isle of Eigg, 1997
Scottish Daily Mail front page on the
passing of Land Reform (Scotland) Act
2003Images from www.alistairmcintosh.com
Justice, liberation and
or… Injustice, oppression and
subsidising a grudgeful minority?
Discourses of land reform
A “Highlands and Islands thing”… or…developing community
assets across Scotland?
Cultybraggan camp, Comrie.
Image from Comrie Development Trust
Isle of Gigha
Image from Isle of Gigha Heritage
Is this land reform an example of community
1. in what sense(s) can “the community” be said to be
empowered, if at all?
2. within “the community”, how are the impacts of
reform distributed, and (how) have individuals been
empowered or disempowered?
• A ‘contested concept’
• A simple take on it = what you can do! - but complex to analyse
• different relations with other people (power over, power with) and in
yourself (power to, power within)
• different forms - the interplay of structure and agency – from overt
visible power to hidden ‘behind the scenes’ power and the invisible
power of structure and culture
• different domains of life (economic, social, cultural, political), wide
range of resources may matter
• place (the Elgin community? Moray? Scotland? UK?),
• interest (the crofting community? the UHI community?),
• ‘attachment’ (“my community” “where I belong”).
• how do ideas of community affect who has what power?
• what power can a community have?
Methods and methodology
• Two contrasting case studies of two
community land iniatives (CLIs)
• Mix of ethnography, qualitative
interviewing, and secondary data analysis
(quantitative and qualitative)
Where am I at? Where next?
• Completed probationary stage
• Worked on literature reviews – power,
community, land reform
• Working (some more) on methodology
• Selecting sites for short pilot study and full
• Awaiting research ethics approval