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Title: Farm, family and neighbourhood in post-improvement Perthshire : an historical ethnography
Author: West, Gary J.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis examines certain aspects of social organisation within farming communities in Perthshire during the 'post-improvement' period - the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Through a process of historical ethnography involving consultation of both documentary and oral source material, an attempt is made to identify and evaluate the cultural markers of the farming life mode as expressed through the collected written and spoken witness narratives. The topographical variety to be found within the Perthshire landscape has encouraged the development of a wide range of agricultural production forms within the county. Following an analysis of the specific manifestations of the agricultural improvement process within the Perthshire context, a number of themes relating to household organisation and community cooperation are examined. Divisions of labour based on both age and gender are addressed in relation to the organisation of family farming, with specific emphasis upon the roles of children - a greatly neglected theme within Scottish agricultural historiography. The investigation then widens out to include the 'temporary family' of the farm bothy, a mode of accommodation which consistently appears as a central theme in the life story narratives of male farm servants consulted during this investigation. The concept of neighbourhood is analysed through the two modes of communal labour arrangement commonly found with Perthshire - exchange labour and charity labour. It is argued that these formed central links in the local informal economy, and that they were essential to the maintenance of social cohesion and the construction of community identity. The Perthshire evidence is outlined and analysed and then discussed within the context of recent and current thought relating to theories of reciprocity and cooperation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available