The Stranger: A Study in Social Relationships

By Margaret Mary Wood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
COUNTRY COMMUNITIES

1. THE RURAL NEIGHBORHOOD

THE difference between the rural neighborhood and the isolated groupings which we have been discussing is largely one of degree since these are all rural in their nature as contrasted with more densely populated areas. The pioneer community has been newly established, however, and its inhabitants are in the process of becoming adjusted to one another; whereas, in the older rural neighborhoods, relationships have become fixed and there is relatively little change. The typical rural neighborhood also differs from retarded regions such as are found in the Appalachian Mountains and in the Ozarks in the wider scope of its relationships, narrow though these often are. Professor Kulp II's definition of the neighborhood as "a series of relationships beyond the kinship group within which the control of personal wishes is most effective"1 brings this point into relief. The southern highlanders were kinship groups with few, if any, neighborhood institutions and little or no community spirit. Kinship was the sole basis of unity, a condition which has become modified in rural neighborhoods which have been less isolated. Family ties have tended to become somewhat more specialized and more personal in their function and new ties of neighborliness have developed. These bonds are personal in their nature and unorganized. They grow up spontane-

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1
Kulp D. H. II, Country Life in South China ( New York, 1925), p. 338.

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