Local heroics: reflecting on incomers and local rural development discourses in Scotland

Kathryn A. Burnett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Aspects of ‘localness’ are used to both define and promote Scotland’s rural people and places. By way of illustration, the social construction and consumption of Scotland’s highlands and islands as underpinned by a negotiated relationship between what is considered ‘local’ and ‘not local,’ is provided. One particular focus is on how incomer and local identities are constructed and mediated by development agencies and academic analysis. It is suggested that the rural incomer is represented as a contradiction of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ with respect to rural development processes. This paradox of incomer identity and representation is examined. Discourses of what and who is local within the current socio-political climate of devolution for Scotland, and increasingly confident claims for national independence, are crucial factors in the contextualization of incomer/local constructions and rural development processes. The promotion of Scotland as a nation which celebrates local articulations is explored, and some possible implications for rural communities and sustained socio-cultural development initiatives are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-224
Number of pages21
JournalSociologia Ruralis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • community
  • rural
  • migration
  • development policy
  • islands
  • localness
  • Hebrides
  • Scotland
  • sustainability of small islands


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