Lairds and Luxury: The Highland Gentry in Eighteenth Century Scotland

This book is a critical account of the social, economic and cultural experience of consumption and luxury of the Highlands. It looks at all classes and various professions, finally looking closely at the Highland gentry during a period of significant change. The subject is inspired by a commonly articulated moral criticism of the gentry - that they were more luxurious and feckless than similar groups elsewhere and that their conspicuous consumption ultimately ruined the Highland economy and destroyed Highland social relationships.The book contains both male and female experiences and expectations, using an anthropological approach to uncover the social meaning of the changing material environment that the Highland gentry inhabited - their houses, their clothing and their possessions. An anthropological perspective is also applied to the knowledge practices of the Highland gentry - what they knew; the processes whereby they came to posses that knowledge through education, professional training or life-experience; and the application of that 'knowledge' to the creation of their culture.