Landscape, farming and rural social change in Orkney, Scotland
This thesis examines processes of change in farming and rural society in the islands of Orkney in Scotland, from an anthropological perspective. At the forefront of these are changes to the structure of farms in Orkney and the rise of the environmental movement over recent decades. The concern in the thesis is with how the interactions between farming and environmentalism relate to the experience of landscape and society in this part of Scotland. Following the phenomenological approaches of Heidegger and Ingold, the theoretical argument is that 'landscape' is fundamentally an experience rather than an objective fact, and that these experiences relate to temporality: attitudes towards the past, and plans for future change. The thesis is thus also a contribution to the understanding of rural developments. The argument is made that while new collaborations between farmers, environmentalists and agents of development are taking place around the selling of qualities of landscape, many regret changes in farming that have resulted in fewer farmers. Environmentalism introduces new kinds of objectifications and commodifications of environments, which have very different aesthetic and moral bases to that of farming through most of the 20th century. The thesis is made up of four parts. Chapters one and two (Part One) provide an introduction and epistemological framework to the thesis, while chapters three and four (Part Two) discuss social change in relation to farming and the environmental movement respectively. The three subsequent chapters (Part Three) are case studies of landscape in Orkney, focusing in turn on labour, the land itself, and animals. It concludes (Part Four) by summarising the main trends of social change and landscape change in Orkney, and using these to address the theoretical questions of landscape, perceptions of the environment, and culture.