Understanding socio-demographic change and sustainability in Scotland’s coastal communities
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The original contribution that this work offers is the understandings of demographic (un)sustainability of places and communities, and in particular, coastal communities with ties to marine related economies. This research considers population and social change in Scottish coastal communities using a relational approach and contributes to a growing field of coastal social research that seeks to inform marine planning policy. A relational approach was implemented by deploying a mixed-method research design in two phases. Phase one, applies a traditional population geography approach to develop a geodemographic profile, in order to characterise 149 coastal localities in Scotland. It builds on existing approaches by formulating a multi-level, dynamic typology. Phase two, focuses on coastal localities with economic ties to the marine industries. It employs a case study research design of three coastal localities (Banff, Cruden Bay and Peterhead) located on Scotland’s North East coast. The case study design focussed around the qualitative methods of in-depth interviews and ethnography, in order to explore the mobility practices influencing demographic change in the Scottish coastal context. The findings demonstrate the significance of local context, economy, opportunity and coastal identity to the socio-demographic sustainability of Scottish coastal populations, as shaped through the processes of mobility and immobility. The approach has created a working definition of the social coast that is applicable across localities in Scotland, and can be deployed to provide a taxonomic analysis for use in policy and planning more widely. The research also addresses a gap in the coastal geography literature, which has previously focussed on economic or cultural identity of coastal places, by considering the implications of population change to the construction of coastal places. Finally, the thesis was responsive to the ways of knowing traditionally mobilised in population geography and was able to critically reflect on the limitations that underpin them within the research process. The relational, mixed methods approach taken enabled a greater understanding of the importance of context, and the internal relationship between the characteristics of place and a population’s capacity to ‘answer back’.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2024-09-13
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 13th September 2024
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