Hardscrabble Heritage: The ruined blackhouse and crofting landscape as heritage from below

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This paper explores a particular materialisation of the relationship between landscape, heritage and identity. Understood as heritage from below, the emphasis is on the role of non-elites in the constitutive processes of landscape and the place/space of the past in the present. The landscape at the heart of this study is that of the ruined blackhouse; an intrinsic part and mnemonic of crofting identity in the Scottish Highlands. These quotidian and mundane spaces are constituted by routine habits which, together with the material ‘left-behinds’ of a past way of life, comprise landmarks to place making from below and within. For members of the crofting community the blackhouse is understood and experienced as inheritance from the past and source of everyday affectual and sensual entanglements. This rural ruin is thus an intrinsic part of the crofting taskscape; the past drawn into the present as a form of cultural heritage from below.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1009
Number of pages16
JournalLandscape Research
Issue number8
Early online date28 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • Landscape
  • heritage
  • identity
  • heritage from below
  • ruins
  • Scottish Highlands
  • blackhouse
  • crofting
  • affect
  • taskscape
  • mundane space


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