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Land, identity, school : exploring women's identity with land in Scotland through the experience of boarding school

Bull, C. and Mcintosh, Alastair and Clark, Colin (2008) Land, identity, school : exploring women's identity with land in Scotland through the experience of boarding school. Oral History, 36 (2). pp. 75-88. ISSN 0143-0955

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Abstract

This study explores the effects of private British boarding school on womenlandowners' identity and their relationship to the land. In noting how theprivate British boarding school system and the Empire were symbioticallyrelated, it discusses how the ruling class were shaped within boarding insti-tutions that cultivated hegemonic superiority and self-perpetuating patterns ofsubjugation and domination. Boarding school ethos has played a key role inmaintaining these 'norms' of power as the young strive for place and identitywithin hierarchical, closed environments. Using a indepth qualitative, groundedtheory approach, eleven women in Scotland shared their stories with theprimary researcher, all of whom were ex-boarders and experienced beingremoved from their home environment usually in pre-adolescence. Almostexclusively, these women felt that their sense of identity had been damagedwhilst being formed in the process. In adulthood, they felt possessive andterritorial in arguably compensatory ways over their land, space and privacy.This possibly sheds light on dynamics of landownership that extend beyondusual considerations of economics and status. The study both commencesand concludes by noting the implications for people-land relationships in thelight of Scotland's land reform process.