Moving Mountains: Community and Resistance in the Isle of Harris, Scotland, and Cape Breton, Canada



Drawing on poststructuralist political ecology, the narratives of two struggles about siting a superquarry are examined to elucidate the complex articulations of community, nature, resistance and identity in play in public debates. Focusing on the discursive formulations of the quarry in the expert language, as well as in the arguments of both local proponents and opponents of the quarries, shows the importance of ontological categories in “environmental” siting disputes. In Harris, these themes rearticulate the histories of dispossession, crofting and religion, as well as complex layers of geographical identity in the various claims to community. In Cape Breton, the rethinking of aboriginal Mi'kmaq identity was stimulated by revived interest in the religious traditions linked to the sacred site near the proposed quarry. In light of these findings, the complexity and active rearticulation of local “community” as political resistance are emphasised and the difficulties of thinking about sustainability highlighted.