The Impact of External Shocks upon a Peripheral Economy: War and Oil in Twentieth Century Shetland

Black, Barbara Ann (1995) The Impact of External Shocks upon a Peripheral Economy: War and Oil in Twentieth Century Shetland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis, within the context of the impact of external shocks on a peripheral economy, offers a soci- economic analysis of the effects of both World Wars and North Sea oil upon Shetland. The assumption is, especially amongst commentators of oil, that the impact of external shocks upon a peripheral economy will be disruptive of equilibrium, setting in motion changes which would otherwise not have occurred. By questioning the classic core-periphery debate, and re-assessing the position of Shetland - an island location labelled 'peripheral' because of the traditional nature of its economic base and distance from the main centres of industrial production - it is possible to challenge this supposition. This thesis attempts a comparison of both the economic and social effects of the three major shocks, deploying oral sources as well as more conventional quantitative material. The thesis questions whether Shetland's apparent 'peripherality' has any historical foundations. Greater exposure to the world through trade, seafaring travel and emigration ensured that the three external shocks of this century had less permanent social consequences than may have been anticipated. Both World Wars brought naval and military personnel to Shetland, and saw the movement out of men and women from the isles. War experiences and contact with 'outsiders' had some effects on the attitudes and ideas of Shetlanders. But it is difficult to separate these from more long-term cultural change. In contrast, a great deal of concern was expressed over the social impact of North Sea oil, since the perceived vulnerability of this society, and its supposed unique features captured national and international interest. It was feared that the 'traditional way of life,' arguably only devised as a reaction to oil, was under threat. But, as Shetland's history shows, it is not as susceptible to change as many may think, and represents a resilient society when exposed to external shocks.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: M A Crowther
Keywords: Economic history
Date of Award: 1995
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1995-75024
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2019 15:58
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2019 15:58
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/75024

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