Philip, Lorna Jennifer
Deprivation in south-west Scotland: how is it experienced in small towns and in rural areas?
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis reports the findings of an empirical research project investigating deprivation in a predominantly rural area of southern Scotland. Many of the social and economic problems afflicting rural communities have been investigated in recent research, and this thesis makes a contribution to this body of work by addressing the relative paucity of primary information about rural deprivation in Scotland.
An extensive review of the literature on deprivation reveals that it is usually discussed with specific reference to either city or predominantly urban areas. In this study the focus was on the varied manifestations of deprivation experienced by those living in the rural areas and in small towns in an attempt to shed light on how deprivation is perceived in those two types of geographical area. Analysis of the survey data involved the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Considerable differences were found between the experiences and perceptions of what constitutes deprivation in small towns and in the neighbouring countryside. The findings suggested that experiences of deprivation are to a considerable extent place specific; there was not a simple 'urban' - 'rural' split. It was also apparent that small towns may have more in common with larger urban areas when it comes to socio-economic problems such as deprivation than they do with their rural hinterland. In attempting to relate experiences of deprivation to the range of anti-deprivation initiatives operating in south-west Scotland, it was found that its economic components are almost always addressed. However, other issues commonly identified by people living in disadvantaged area's have yet to be similarly addressed.
The main conclusion to be drawn from this study is that while a rural-urban split exists in residents' experiences of deprivation, individual geographical areas of the same type (i.e. rural or urban areas) display unique characteristics. From this it follows that policies to counteract deprivation and associated socio-economic problems must take account of the specific needs of individual areas rather than rely on more generalised formulations.
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