Of Necessary Work: The Longue Durée of the Moral Ecology of the Hebridean Gàidhealtachd

  • Iain J. M. Robertson
  • Mary MacLeod Rivett
Part of the Palgrave Studies in World Environmental History book series (PSWEH)


If the pivotal impact of Crimes against Nature is beyond doubt, that of its associated concept of moral ecology is more open to question. This chapter is founded on the belief that an attempt to render this valuable way of thinking of both quotidian environmental beliefs, practices and performances and resistances to dispossession is essential. Deep-time case studies from the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, drawing on archaeology, documentary evidence and oral testimony are used to examine the material and social expressions of nature/culture interactions over 7000 years from the beginning of farming to the first half of the twentieth century. What emerges is a protean moral ecology which neither axiomatically rests on sustainable foundations, nor emerges as a fixed, inert set of values and beliefs. This moral ecology is shaped by routine, grooved in, by and through the body and expressed as appropriate assemblages of the human and non-human.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iain J. M. Robertson
    • 1
  • Mary MacLeod Rivett
    • 2
  1. 1.University of the Highlands and IslandsDornochScotland, UK
  2. 2.Historic Environment ScotlandEdinburghScotland, UK

Personalised recommendations