Russell Z (2021) Common-sense Discourses of Nature: A Gramscian Analysis of Conservation Designations in the Scottish Highlands. In: Heritage and Environment. The 5th Heritage Forum of Central Europe. Heritage and Environment. The 5th Heritage Forum of Central Europe, Krakow, 19.09.2019-20.09.2019. Krakow: International Cultural Centre, pp. 47-66. https://mck.krakow.pl/bookshop/91
Abstract First paragraph: There is no singular "nature" simply out there waiting to be conserved and meanings of nature are multiple, biased, and contradictory. Despite arguments for contextually-specific ways of knowing nature, there remains a persistent nature-culture dichotomy underpinning nature conservation, problematically separating human action from the natural environment. Scotland has a complex and layered framework of statuatory nature conservation designations used to protect and conserve nature; in fact, over a quarter of Scottish land is covered by such designations. This paper examines the discourses of nature produced through such conservation designations and the implications for human- environment interaction. The research is based on a critical documentary analysis of nature conservation designations over time, using the Gramscian concept of "common sense" to critique the nature-culture dichotomy. The first section introduces contextual literature on neo-liberal conservation and the Myth of the Highlands. The next explains the methodological approach taken before the main findings are presented. It is argued that as elsewhere, nature conservation designations in Scotland have reproduced the nature-culture dichotomy through prescribing desirable levels and forms of human-environment interaction. Additionally. common-sense discourses of nature are shown to emerge from within notions of natural heritage as a national asset tied to the Scottish state. Finally, there is a discussion of alternative nature-cultures and suggestions are made for directing future research in this area.