Eric Hobsbawm’s influential thesis of ‘social banditry’ has provoked a great deal of research into the history of brigandage which had done much to enrich our knowledge of early modern society. This work has also helped inform our understanding of how state structures functioned, especially in the early modern period. This article seeks to contribute to that discussion by deploying Scottish evidence. It shows that the suppression of banditry in Scotland—mainly the Highlands—involved a range of tactics and approaches, all of them predicated on co-operation between central government, local elites, and local communities. The necessity of such coordination, the article contends, underlines the political realities of the Scottish state, which worked according to a ‘magisterial’ model that required politically powerful groups to work closely with ordinary communities if they were to achieve their goals.
|Number of pages
|International Review of Scottish Studies
|Published - 26 Dec 2021