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Places of Possibility: Property, Nature and Community Land Ownership

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9171-5
270 pages
January 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
Places of Possibility: Property, Nature and Community Land Ownership (1405191716) cover image


Through original research conducted in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, Places of Possibility shows how community land ownership can open up the political, social, environmental, and economic terrain to more socially just and sustainable possibilities than private ownership.
  • Reveals how community land ownership is more just and sustainable than private ownership
  • Features original theoretical insights into ideas of property and nature that disrupt the process of neoliberalisation
  • Based on original research conducted by the author in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland
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Table of Contents

List of Maps viii

List of Photographs ix

List of Tables x

Acknowledgements xi

1 Placing Possibility 1

2 Working Property 34

3 Working Nature 79

4 Working the Wind 127

5 Working Places 175

6 Conclusion – Working Possibilities 214

References 227

Index 248

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Author Information

A. Fiona D. Mackenzie is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and Honorary Professor, University of the Highlands and Islands. Professor Mackenzie has carried out in-depth qualitative research on the Isle of Harris, the Outer Hebrides, and is the author of Land, Ecology and Resistance in Kenya, 1880-1952 (1998).
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“As Fiona Mackenzie demonstrates in her important new book, the Highlands and Hebrides have become, in recent years, the center of a sustained effort to construct an alternative, place-based and more generous politics to that of a neoliberal imaginary … Mackenzie has written a book that is thrilling in its optimism and hopefulness. She convincingly explains in compelling detail the hopeful possibilities of the re-commoning in the Hebrides and Highlands. This is rarely the stuff of academic study but is at the heart of Places of Possibility’s profound ambitions and most important contribution: anticipating ‘more socially, environmentally and economically generous postneoliberalisms’.” (Antipode, 1 September 2013)

"In this splendid book Fiona Mackenzie provides an excellent analysis of the principles and practice of community land-ownership, an idea which is transforming the landscape of the Scottish highlands. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in the Hebrides and a very wide range of interdisciplinary references she adds depth and clarity to our understanding of this profound shift in Scottish society."
Ewen A. Cameron, Professor of History, University of Edinburgh

Because Fiona Mackenzie has spent a lot of time in the area, she has got to grips with the Highlands and Islands experience of community ownership in a way that no other academic author has done. Mackenzie has much to say that is novel, perceptive and important, while her background and experience is such as to enable her to bring a range of theoretical perspectives to bear on her subject matter.
James Hunter, Emeritus Professor of History, University of the Highlands and Islands

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