An Ethnographic Analysis of a Crofting Community

Collins, C (2009) An Ethnographic Analysis of a Crofting Community. [Dissertation]

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This report is an ethnographic analysis of a crofting community on the island Barra, Outer
Hebrides, Scotland. It aims to develop the notion of a ‘crofting community’ and the identity
of the crofter in the 21st century; with the interplay of the many significant challenges that
rural Scotland faces through negative rural processes such as an ageing, homogenising
population, significant outward migration and the availability of affordable, adequate
housing. These issues, along with many more, require a detailed examination of the
relationships within the communities themselves; the networks that are available, the
hierarchies that are afforded and the cultural symbols that the community possess.
Through a multi-method approach, utilising cover participant-as-observer methods and semistructured
interviews with ‘key actors’ in the community, this investigation aims to provide a
reliable and valid ethnographic account of the community present on Barra, illustrating it’s
inner workings and particularities. The issues raised through the data gathered will form a
thematic narrative where extrapolation of necessary situations, events or phrases that
significantly illustrate the issues that the community is facing in this present time, which can
then be played out for the reader to view, make sense of and hopefully highlight areas of
future research.

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