Gathering together: social capital, cultural capital, the value of cultural heritage in a digital age

David Beel* (Corresponding Author), Claire Wallace

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Cultural heritage is generally regarded as something of value – but it is valued in different ways by different communities. Here we explore the value of cultural heritage for rural Scottish communities and how it is generated through social and cultural capital. Using the idea of ‘gathering’, we consider the process of gathering historical archives, narratives and gathering places based on local knowledge. We draw upon a study of communities in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, where a well-established cultural heritage tradition has developed and is continuing to do so with the adoption of various digital technologies. The paper argues that cultural heritage offers a real sense of cultural value for participants and communities for which digitisation offers both threats and opportunities. The paper adds to our understanding of locally generated cultural capital and the meaning of cultural value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-717
Number of pages21
JournalSocial & Cultural Geography
Issue number5
Early online date11 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

This research project was supported by the AHRC Cultural Value research programme, award reference AH/L006006/1.

We would like to thank Hebridean Connections and the broader Comainn Eachdraidh movement for their collaboration as research partners. We would also like to thank the broader CURIOS team for their assistance and Dr. Cheryl McGeachan for her kinds words of support. Finally, we our greatly indebted to our reviewers for their constructive comments which have greatly strengthened the paper.


  • cultural value
  • cultural capital
  • social capital
  • cultural heritage
  • historical associations
  • memory
  • digitisation
  • digital geography


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