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Twenty-first Century Clientelism? State and Community on the Isle of Rum, Scotland

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicola Thompson, Dr Jane Atterton


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This article utilises the concept of the clientelist countryside to examine the similarities and differences between areas dominated by private estates and areas dominated by large public land holdings. While the paternalistic countryside has been widely studied in England, there has been little in-depth work on the clientelist countryside. Drawing on empirical work on the Isle of Rum, located off the west coast of Scotland, the article argues that there are important differences between paternalistic and clientelist countryside typologies. Rum has a population of 31 and is wholly owned by the statutory nature conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage. The article illustrates how this public status structures a whole set of social and economic relations between those who live and work there and those who have a professional involvement on Rum. State ownership has created a situation where those who live on the island are divided by their differing conceptions of their professional, community and individual responsibilities. The article concludes by highlighting four key points of differentiation between the paternalistic and clientelist countryside.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Thompson N, Atterton J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sociologia Ruralis

Year: 2010

Volume: 50

Issue: 4

Pages: 352-369

Print publication date: 28/06/2010

ISSN (print): 0038-0199

ISSN (electronic): 1467-9523

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9523.2010.00509.x


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