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Title: Anthropology in the wind : people, power and environment in Caithness, Scotland
Author: Senior, Rebecca Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 9353 6401
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis is concerned with the forms of power present in human relationships with environments in the far north of Scotland. Using material gathered during eighteen months of fieldwork in Caithness, I explore how the wind is present in human-environment relationships and how the Scottish planning system is produced through the diverse practices of the people who engage with it, with particular reference to wind farm siting decisions. Attending to the experiences of wind recounted to me by gardeners, kayakers, surfers and wind farm developers demonstrates that life processes are continually informed by relationships with the surrounding world. I argue that wind can be understood both as an influence that mediates action and as subject to influence by actions. Thus, everyday understandings of the wind are primarily practical, developed in relation to specific tasks and places. I use Michel de Certeau's notions of tactics and strategies to explore the various practices that people employ to engage with the planning system. By focusing on the interrelationship between the everyday actions or tactics of people and other living beings and the generation of environmental conditions, including institutional or strategic structures, I make an explicit critique of notions of power as a singular, static or coherent entity. Strategies – in this case, the policies and procedures of the planning system – emerge as an effect of the tactical relationships between intrinsically powerful beings and their environment. This focus on diverse practices necessarily foregrounds the actions of individual people, and this concern with 'the individual' is reflected throughout the thesis. Drawing on Nigel Rapport's work, I propose that all living beings are imbued with a life force – or power – which propels them along their trails of life, thus constituting Tim Ingold's meshwork. In simpler terms, being alive is to emanate power.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Human ecology ; Winds ; Power ; Caithness (Scotland)