Rural People and Communities in the 21st Century: Resilience and Transformation
March 2011, Polity
This book examines the causes and consequences of major social and economic changes affecting rural communities and populations during the first decades of the twenty-first century, and explores policies developed to ameliorate problems or enhance opportunities. Primarily focused on the U.S. context, while also providing international comparative discussion, the book is organized into five sections each of which explores both socio-demographic and political economic aspects of rural transformation. It features an accessible and up-to-date blend of theory and empirical analysis, with each chapter's discussion grounded in real-life situations through the use of empirical case-study materials.
Rural People and Communities in the 21st Century is intended for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in rural sociology, community sociology, rural and/or population geography, community development, and population studies.
I. Thinking About Rural Places in Metropolitan Society.
1. Rurality in Metropolitan Society.
2. Urbanization and Population Redistribution.
II. Rural Communities, Institutions and Environments.
3. Understanding Community in Rural Society.
4. Community Institutions in Rural Society.
5. Natural Resources and Social Change.
III. Rural Populations.
6. Youth, Aging and the Life Course.
7. Racial and Ethnic Minorities in Rural Areas.
IV. Rural Economy and Socioeconomic Wellbeing.
8. Making a Living in Rural Communities.
9. Farms, Farmers and Farming.
10. Poverty Across Rural People and Places.
11. Rural Transformations and Rural Policies for the Future.
Kai A. Schafft is an Associate Professor of Education at Pennsylvania State University.
- Provides a well-written and up-to-date overview of the core concerns and literature in rural sociology
- Accessible blend of theory and empirical data on key aspects of studying rural communities in the larger context of society as a whole
- Examines the real and imagined facets of rural life for both rural and metropolitan populations (e.g. economics, demographics, resources, as well as the rural mystique and ideas of nostalgia and tradition)
- David Brown is a leading figure in rural sociology
"Well structured and clear in its arguments, outlining different aspects of life in rural areas: their communities and institutions, their populations and their economics. Rural and urban areas are compared and the development of rural environments over the years is outlined. The array of topics covered in the book is impressive and it is clear that the research done by the authors is vast and the level of details is meticulous."
The Kelvingrove Review
“Brown and Schafft detail the challenges of persistence
and change facing rural people and places. Their call for a
first-ever holistic, comprehensive rural policy for the United
States should be, must be, a policy and political rallying cry for
all concerned with the sustainable development of rural communities
and regions in the 21st century.”
Theodore R. Alter, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Community Development, The Pennsylvania State University
“In this fast-paced global environment, it is good to be
reminded of the substantive contributions that rural people have
made to the well-being of our world. Brown and Schafft pursue a
balanced assessment of the problems that beset many parts of rural
America today, and comment on the urgency of creating a national
policy and mix of programs that build on the strengths of rural
people and communities. Yes, rural America matters and thanks to
Brown and Schafft, we have important insights on the smart
investments that must be made if we hope to ensure its long-term
vitality and sustainability.”
Lionel J. “Bo” Beaulieu, Mississippi State University
“This volume is necessary reading for anyone seeking to
understand the contours of change in rural America over the past 50
years. It provides a masterful overview of key dimensions of
social, economic, and environmental changes, offers theoretical
tools by which to explain these changes, and raises provocative
questions about the future of rural America.”
Linda Lobao, The Ohio State University, Columbus