Scottish community land initiatives: going beyond the locality to enable local empowerment

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This paper employs Gaventa’s ‘powercube’ framework to examine how the Scottish community land movement has woven together different forms and sources of power in pursuit of local development. It finds that, while localism is a strong element in community land action, connections to institutions operating at wider spatial levels have been vital to the growth of the movement. It explores the Scottish Highlands and Islands context that has facilitated these connections. It also discusses the movement’s relationship with states and markets, noting both its emergence in the context of their perceived failures, but also analysing its engagement with them. It draws on primary research carried out by the author in Scotland, including ethnographic research into the working of two community land initiatives at local level, and into the community land movement more widely. It concludes with some remarks about community-led development, states and austerity; and contemporary developments in Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-138
Number of pages16
JournalPeople, Place and Policy Online
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2015


  • Power
  • Local development
  • Community ownership
  • Land
  • Scotland


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