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Title: Coping with insularity : social and economic development in a small island setting
Author: Mackinnon, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 1287
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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The socio-economic landscapes of islands have, in the past, been reduced to facile binarisms like prison/paradise, sovereign/non-sovereign or vulnerable/resilient (Royle, 2001; Baldacchino, 2006a; Guillaumont, 2010). These binarisms often mask the complexities and, possibly more importantly, the mundanities of island life in considering island development. This thesis provides critical empirical evidence of the lived experience of islanders and what it means to study small islands 'on their own terms' (McCall, 1994). The methods and techniques used in this thesis were framed within a constructivist research paradigm where traditional boundaries between researcher and researched are renegotiated to being equal co-constructors of , knowledge. Qualitative interviews, along with participant observation and analysis of textual material were used to present complementary and contradictory perceptions of island development. Sixty-one interviews were conducted within the Western Isles of Scotland and a further seven were conducted in Cape Breton Island, Canada. This thesis found that the socio-spatial characteristics of small North Atlantic islands with limited sovereignty (NAILS) contribute to development being so locally embedded that they find it difficult to be 'glocally' confident. Unlike other small island economies that have been described as existing in a type of a steady-state equilibrium (Bertram 1999, 2006), NAILS can be described as continually transitional. They are in a 'constant state of becoming'; becoming something other than dependent on traditional resource-based economies. There is a legacy of 'malaise, dejection, and despair' (Baldacchino, 200Sa:39) from a history of exploitation, resource dependence and failed development projects and falling populations. However, innovation in the form of community ownership projects, an experiential tourism product and new governance arrangements offer green shoots of hope and optimism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available