Spaces of well-being: social crofting in rural Scotland

Zoe Russell*, Lucy Beattie*, David Heaney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


The transformation of nature-society relations towards conditions of wellbeing and sustainability is of major global concern and academic interest. Contributing to this important area, this research examines the interconnection between rural development, wellbeing and agriculture in Scotland through a qualitative study of ‘social crofting’. Social crofting is a type of care farming, which is increasingly prominent in the UK context and beyond, but under-developed in Scotland. Drawing from the existing literature, we apply a wellbeing lens to the unique conditions of crofting in rural Scotland through the concept of ‘spaces of wellbeing’. We show the diverse practices that constitute social crofting and enable different kinds of wellbeing within rural communities. Our findings point to the challenges and barriers for social crofting which is under-resourced and under-valued in Scotland and we contextualise this within a hybrid neoliberal policy context. Given the potential for transforming nature-society relations and contributing to the wellbeing agenda, greater support is needed for crofters to pursue social crofting in rural Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Early online date11 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • agriculture
  • care farming
  • green care
  • rural health
  • social farming
  • transformation


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