Dignity and Dionysus: Doing Wildness on the West Coast of Scotland
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This is a dissertation about attachment and survival in a cult tourist destination on the West Coast of Scotland: a tiny village on the edge of a vast landscape, a scenic area valued for its exceptional remoteness and wildness. Glenmara contradicts itself, and it knows how to use this tension to create value. It is a place that is both distant and connected, warm and wild. Remote and hospitable. A place that needs exposure but also carefully tends to its insularity. A place where it is difficult to become accepted and impossible to hide. Falling in love with Glenmara is easy – everyone does. But staying the course takes work. This dissertation cares about endurance as a way of life, and the sacrifices that are made for the sake of an ineffable feeling of wildness. It is a story about the exhilaration of an otherworldly place, and how we struggle to live with each other when we try to hold onto things that can’t last.
This dissertation is based on 18 months of ethnographic research conducted on the West Coast of Scotland between 2014-2016. It is situated in a small place that dramatizes everything that is human about living together: the promise and impossibility of social cohesion, the pleasures and dangers of intimacy, and the ways we both help and hurt each other, collectively.
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Rights for Collection: Duke Dissertations