The Community in Rural America

The Community in Rural America

The Community in Rural America

The Community in Rural America

Synopsis

This study examines the critical state of rural life in America, its causes and possible cure. First reviewing existing research and theories on the subject, Wilkinson identifies characteristic rural conditions that block community development and the enhancement of economic, social, and educational opportunities for rural people. His analysis focuses on community interaction as a necessary basis for social well-being, pinpoints fruitful areas of research, and suggests policy initiatives needed to save a rural way of life.

Excerpt

The community is a venerable topic of research and teaching in rural sociology and a focus of continuing controversies in theory and policy. Sociologists have been debating the meaning and usefulness of such concepts as rural, community, and community development for many years. As happens from time to time, rural community development has recently surfaced as a keystone of proposals for a national rural development policy in the United States. As one might expect, however, trends in academic and policy debates are not always synchronous. Currently, sociologists are questioning the conventional concept of the community as a local society and asking whether rural community development is possible in an essentially urban world. Meanwhile, ignoring such questions, proponents of rural development at federal and state levels are arguing persuasively that community action and community leadership must be at the forefront of effective programs to address rural problems. The time is ripe for rural sociology, with its academic base in research and theory and its policy orientation, to come up with useful answers to some old questions. What is a community? How does community influence social well-being? How do communities develop? How do rural and urban characteristics of a population affect the prospects for community development and social well-being? What could be done to promote rural community development . . .

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