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Perceptions of the Rural Poor: Social Reform and Resistance in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland

Author(s): Catriona Mackie

Year: 2013

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This paper investigates the processes of rural social reform in the Scottish Highlands during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Through a study of the Isle of Lewis, the most northerly of the Scottish Hebrides, the conflicting attitudes of tenants and those in a position of authority to tenant housing and living conditions are explored. While the desire for social reform drove landowners (and, later, local authorities) to try and improve the living conditions of the Lewis tenants, such improvements met with widespread resistance from the tenants themselves. Despite this, an examination of tenant housing and lifestyle throughout the period in question shows that tenants were adapting their houses and, at times, were engaging in conspicuous consumption. The contrasting cultural backgrounds of the tenants and those in authority led to differing views about notions of comfort, acceptable standards of living and the need for improvement.  

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Perceptions of the Rural Poor: Social Reform and Resistance in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Catriona Mackie. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428521)


highlands Housing Poverty

Geographic Keywords
United Kingdom Western Europe

Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -8.158; min lat: 49.955 ; max long: 1.749; max lat: 60.722 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 363

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America