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Accepted Paper:

Land for What? Land for Whom? Conflict in the Cairngorms of Scotland  


Bonnie Vande Steeg

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how conflicts between conservation, recreation, and livelihood manifest themselves in the context of the Cairngorm National Park. It will argue that these conflicts are not inevitable. However, what needs to change is how decisions about land are made and who has the power.

Paper long abstract:

The Cairngorm National Park was established in 2003 after years of negotiation and discussion, often quite acrimonious, between a wide range or groups and individuals both inside and outside the designated area. My research took place during 1999-2000 (with regular return visits), which was towards the end of the debate about the funicular and at the beginning of the national park consultation. It was a difficult time because the area had already seen intense conflict over the building of the funicular railway and various 'sides' had been established in opposition to each other.

My aim was to explore how different senses of place- conservation, livelihood and recreation- develop into public conflicts, seemingly unresolvable and to consider whether such conflicts are inevitable because of these entrenched perspectives.

This paper examine how these conflicts manifested themselves and then go on to show that they are not inevitable. There is much common ground between the different interest groups and that land can be managed for conservation, livelihood and recreation objectives. However, what needs to change is how decisions about land are made and who has the power.

Book coming out Autumn 2021

Land for What? Land for Whom? Senses of Place and Conflict in the Scottish Highlands

Panel P062b
Positionality beyond 'People versus Parks': Anthropologists' Engagement with Conservation in the 21st Century