The Western Isles Today

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Cambridge University Press, 1980 - Social Science - 128 pages
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The Western Isles of Scotland appear to the popular imagination as romantic and remote islands where the inhabitants cling to an archaic culture which is barely integrated into modern industrial society. In this book Judith Ennew dispels such myths, and confronts the social problems of an economically depressed region without denying its unique cultural aspects. She traces the history of the Western Isles as a dynamic process, and shows that even the crofting way of life is of recent origin. What is so often taken to be an ancient way of life is not a static structure but the continuing result of the development of capitalism. Its history is as modern as that of any other living pattern within the United Kingdom. Dr Ennew examines the history of land tenure and economy, showing how the islands have been integrated into industrial society in the last two hundred years. She then explores the current way of life in the area, particularly in the northern island of Lewis. Finally, she considers the future prospects of the islands, demonstrating how the inhabitants are trying to develop a consciousness of their own history with which to combat present social ills.

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