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Building on their analysis in Sociology in Government (Penn State, 2003), Julie Zimmerman and Olaf Larson again join forces across the generations to explore the unexpected inclusion of rural and farm women in the research conducted by the USDA’s Division of Farm Population and Rural Life. Existing from 1919 to 1953, the Division was the first, and for a time the only, unit of the federal government devoted to sociological research. The authors explore how these early rural sociologists found the conceptual space to include women in their analyses of farm living, rural community social organization, and the agricultural labor force.
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This collection of original chapters, written by prominent social scientists, elucidates the theory and practice of contemporary rural sociology. The book applies lessons from the careers of sociologists and their field research endeavors, covering a wide range of topics: agricultural production, processing, and marketing; international food security and rural development; degradation of the bio-physical environment across borders; and the study of community, family, health, and many other issues in an increasingly globalized world. The authors’ candid accounts provide insight into possibilities for enhancing opportunity and equality and serving basic human needs.
From 1919 through 1953, the U.S. Department of Agriculture housed the Division of Farm Population and Rural Life&—the first unit within the federal government established specifically for sociological research. Distinguished sociologists Charles Galpin and Carl Taylor provided key leadership for 32 of its 34 years as the Division sought to understand the social structure of rural America and to do public policy-oriented research. It reached the height of its influence during the New Deal and World War II as it helped implement modern liberal policies in America's farming sector, attempting to counteract the harsh effects of modern industrialism on the rural economy. In addition, the Division devoted resources to studying both the history and the contemporary state of rural social life. Sociology in Government offers the first detailed historical account and systematic documentation of this remarkable federal office. The Division of Farm Population and Rural Life was an archetypal New Deal governmental body, deeply engaged in research on agricultural planning and action programs for the disadvantaged in rural areas. Its work continued during World War II with farm labor and community organization work. Larson and Zimmerman emphasize the Division's pioneering practices, presenting it as one model for applying the discipline of sociology in the government setting. Published in cooperation with the American Sociological Association, Sociology in Government preserves the history of this pathbreaking research unit whose impact is still felt today.
From 1900 to 1960, the introduction and development of four so-called urbanizing technologies–the telephone, automobile, radio, and electric light and power–transformed the rural United States. But did these new technologies revolutionize rural life in the ways modernizers predicted? And how exactly–and with what levels of resistance and acceptance–did this change take place? In Consumers in the Country Ronald R. Kline, avoiding the trap of technological determinism, explores the changing relationships among the Country Life professionals, government agencies, sales people, and others who promoted these technologies and the farm families who largely succeeded in adapting them to rural culture.
Rural queer experience is often hidden or ignored, and presumed to be alienating, lacking, and incomplete without connections to a gay culture that exists in an urban elsewhere. Queering the Countryside offers the first comprehensive look at queer desires found in rural America from a genuinely multi-disciplinary perspective. This collection of original essays confronts the assumption that queer desires depend upon urban life for meaning. By considering rural queer life, the contributors challenge readers to explore queer experiences in ways that give greater context and texture to modern practices of identity formation. The book’s focus on understudied rural spaces throws into relief the overemphasis of urban locations and structures in the current political and theoretical work on queer sexualities and genders. Queering the Countryside highlights the need to rethink notions of “the closet” and “coming out” and the characterizations of non-urban sexualities and genders as “isolated” and in need of “outreach.” Contributors focus on a range of topics—some obvious, some delightfully unexpected—from the legacy of Matthew Shepard, to how heterosexuality is reproduced at the 4-H Club, to a look at sexual encounters at a truck stop, to a queer reading of TheWizard of Oz. A journey into an unexplored slice of life in rural America, Queering the Countryside offers a unique perspective on queer experience in the modern United States and Canada. Instructor's Guide

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