Margins of resilience, sustainability and success: island enterprise and entrepreneurship

Mike Danson, Kathryn A. Burnett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


To offer a critical yet timely commentary on the nature of sustainability narratives in reference to current small business enterprise in remote Scotland with a key focus on ‘place context’ and the complex interplay of social and material resources. ‘Survival’ has been a key ‘modernity’ trope for Scotland’s rural remote places. People living and working in peripheral regions such as the Highlands, and the island archipelagos of Shetland, Orkney, and the Hebrides, have been frequently represented in both policy and cultural texts as ‘tough’ and necessarily adaptable communities surviving ‘against the odds’ of the geography, environment and economies of Scotland’s remote places. What was once initially a counter-narrative, the shift towards a greater emphasis on ‘enterprise’ and ‘sustainability’ agenda has firmly impacted on the nature of work and leisure within all spaces but not least it has informed policy and opportunity within remote rural landscapes. Previous work on enterprises in island and remote rural areas (Burnett and Danson, 2004, 2014; Danson and Burnett, 2014) has demonstrated the need to avoid a simple transfer of sectoral and national strategies and policies to peripheral and marginal regions, demanding further exploration of behaviours and attitudes to island enterprise and entrepreneurship both from within and without the local environment. The extent of ‘co-production’ narratives of sustainability informed by ‘localness’ in areas that are typically ‘rural’ yet particularly ‘remote’ where ‘margin’ as an idea and as practice is appropriated and deployed to entrepreneurial effect are demonstrated. ‘Survival’ is revisited and reflections on its place within enterprise narrative as ‘margins’ are redefined; remoteness is increasingly celebrated as a sustainable reality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScotland and Islandness
Subtitle of host publicationExplorations in Community, Economy and Culture
EditorsKathryn A. Burnett, Ray Burnett, Michael Danson
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherPeter Lang
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781789974133
ISBN (Print)9781789974133
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2021

Publication series

NameStudies in the History and Culture of Scotland
PublisherPeter Lang
ISSN (Electronic)1661-6863


  • Island studies
  • Scotland
  • rural economy
  • enterprise
  • islandness
  • peripheral
  • community empowerment
  • island products
  • island proofing
  • island resilience
  • sustainability of small islands
  • Rural
  • rural policy


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