Refuge or retreat: resilience and the mediatization of Scotland’s island space

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Islands are significantly on the agenda in Scotland. Media accounts – news, features, and other creative narratives – textually frame the representational terrains of island policy, agency and community. Such mediatization informs and responds to certain ideas and discourses of our island geographies. It typically includes what could be considered good islandness: that is, islands as good lifestyle havens, sites of social resilience and adaptive social renewal. During the COVID-19 pandemic, certain spaces and geographies were notably re-evaluated. Sites of ‘isolation’, ‘remoteness’ and places considered ‘far from’ occupied a heightened position of desirability and potential refuge. A purposive sample of stories and features is presented here to capture case exemplars of how Scotland’s island space and place geographies were variously textually framed by media news across the initial lockdown and subsequent significant travel restriction phases (March 2020 to October 2020). The discussion explores how a short-view media framing of Scotland’s island spaces specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic spoke to aspects of islandness as refuge and as resilience. The paper offers a longer-view perspective whereby the complexities and complicities of media framing of Scottish rural and island spaces as resilient is considered more broadly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Early online date6 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Aug 2023


  • islandness
  • media
  • resilience
  • rural
  • pandemic


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