A. Fiona Mackenzie – Places of Possibility [Feature Review]

April 17, 2013


[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”1405191716″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41wQqACWbNL._SL110_.jpg” width=”73″]Page 2: A. Fiona Mackenzie – Places of Possibility

Places of Possibility is really much more than an observation of the workings of a community owning their land. After all, the title itself hints at “possibility”: at land being more than what we usually see it as. What Mackenzie presents is a fantastic example, in secular cultural application, of theologian Walter Wink’s “third way”. When a community comes together to purchase and own their land they are instilling within their culture another way of doing land ownership, one that directly addresses the concerns of those living on the land. It rips natural resources from the dual hegemony of corporation and government and breaks the cultural norms that preside over society (usually to the detriment of some of the people involved).


A. Fiona Mackenzie presents a magnificent study of the potentiality of community land ownership. It is very much a scholarly work, but one that reaches beyond the confines of its subject and speaks towards the opportunity at looking for “third ways” in all aspects of culture. The success of community land ownership in Scotland – and that is success as defined apart from normative views dominant in culture, or, benefit towards local interests and overall well-being versus maximization of profit – lays a map for the rest of the world to seek to break the confines of neoliberalization. It is near impossible to dismiss the results of the community ownership of The North Harris Trust, wherein a local population is able to realize a usage of land that takes history, geography, culture, and economy into account. The community, the land, the nation, and possibly the world end up better from it.