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At Home in the Hills: Sense of Place in the Scottish Borders

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At Home in the Hills

Sense of Place in the Scottish Borders

John N. Gray

224 pages, 5 maps, 10 photographs, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-739-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (August 2000)

ISBN  978-0-85745-179-8 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (August 2011)

eISBN 978-0-85745-871-1 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


"... a fascinating history of the Borders as space defined through exercises of power ... The absorbing history of space provides the setting for a fine-grained ethnograpy of place ... It also has the great virtue of being most readable."  · The Australian Journal of Anthropology


To most outsiders, the hills of the Scottish Borders are a bleak and foreboding space - usually made to represent the stigmatized Other, Ad Finis, by the centers of power in Edinburgh, London, and Brussels. At a time when globalization seems to threaten our sense of place, people of the Scottish borderlands provide a vivid case study of how the being-in-place is central to the sense of self and identity. Since the end of the thirteenth century, people living in the Scottish Border hills have engaged in armed raiding on the frontier with England, developed capitalist sheep farming in the newly united kingdom of Great Britain, and are struggling to maintain their family farms in one of the marginal agricultural rural regions of the European Community. Throughout their history, sheep farmers living in these hills have established an abiding sense of place in which family and farm have become refractions of each other. Adopting a phenomenological perspective, this book concentrates on the contemporary farming practices - shepherding, selling lambs and rams at auctions - as well as family and class relations through which hill sheep fuse people, place, and way of life to create this sense of being-at-home in the hills.

John Gray is Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Adelaide, Australia. He has carried out long term ethnographic research in both the Scottish Border as well as in Nepal about which he has published two books: Domestic Mandala: Architecture of Lifeworlds in Nepal (Ashgate) and The Householder¹s World: Purity, Power and Dominance in a Nepali Village (Oxford).

Subject: Anthropology (General)
Area: Europe


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Place-Making and Family Farms in the Scottish Borders

Chapter 1. Reivers of the Marches: The Borders as Frontier
Chapter 2. Tenants on Landed Estates: Capitalist Agriculture in the Middle Shires
Chapter 3. Sheep Farming in the Community: The Borders as Rural
Chapter 4. Forms of Tenure: Establishing Relations between Farm and Family
Chapter 5. Sheep and Land: A Political Economy of Space
Chapter 6. Hill Sheep and Tups: Emplacement through Farm Work
Chapter 7. Lamb Auctions: Spectacles of Hill Sheep Farming
Chapter 8. Ram Auctions: Tups of Value, Men of Renown
Chapter 9. The Big House: Farmers and Shepherds
Chapter 10. The Farmhouse: Keeping the Farm in the Family


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