Communities of Work: Rural Restructuring in Local and Global Contexts

Overview


The image of rural America portrayed in this illuminating study is one that is vibrant, regionally varied, and sometimes heroic. Communities of Work focuses on the ways in which rural people and places are affected by political, social, and economic forces far outside their control and how they sustain themselves and their communities in response.

Bringing together the two fundamental concepts of community—where the relationships and practices of daily life occur—and work, in ...

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Overview


The image of rural America portrayed in this illuminating study is one that is vibrant, regionally varied, and sometimes heroic. Communities of Work focuses on the ways in which rural people and places are affected by political, social, and economic forces far outside their control and how they sustain themselves and their communities in response.

Bringing together the two fundamental concepts of community—where the relationships and practices of daily life occur—and work, in which an elementary exchange occurs, Communities of Work bridges several fields of study. Presented here is the contextual and embedded nature of social relations and the complexity involved in understanding them. Through the use of multiple case studies, the authors apply diverse theories and methods in seeking an integrated outcome, one captured by “communities of work.”

Beginning with a description of the broad changes in work and economic activities across the United States, ranging from the Ohio River Valley to a western boomtown, the book shifts its focus to the interplay of work, family, and local networks in time and place. Activities range from fishing in the Mississippi Delta to farming and family life in the Midwest. The authors then highlight how rural people and places respond to extra-local, increasingly global forces in settings as diverse as rural South Carolina and Wisconsin.

A certain communitarian theme runs through Communities of Work. It is about people and communities not merely reacting, but instead responding in ways that reflect their local culture, while being cognizant of the larger world within which they live.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Communities of Work: Rural Restructuring in Local and Global Contexts
Ch. 1 Old Industrial Regions and the Political Economy of Development: The Ohio River Valley 3
Ch. 2 Place, Race, and State: Sustaining the Textile Security Zone in a Changing Southern Labor Market 31
Ch. 3 Meat Processing in Rural America: Economic Powerhouse or Problem? 55
Ch. 4 Socioeconomic Trends in Mining-Dependent Counties in Appalachia 79
Ch. 5 From Extraction to Amenities: Restructuring and (In)Conspicuous Consumption in Missoula, Montana 104
Ch. 6 Troubled Waters or Business as Usual? Ethnicity, Social Capital, and Community in the Louisiana Oyster Fishery 131
Ch. 7 Identity of Self and Others through Work: A Life of Commercial Fishing in the Mississippi Delta 157
Ch. 8 Sense of Place and Rural Restructuring: Lessons from the Low Country 177
Ch. 9 Housing Labor's Unrest: Economic Restructuring and the Social Production of Scale 196
Ch. 10 Hogs and Citizens: A Report from the North Carolina Front 219
Ch. 11 Does Welfare to Work Work? Rural Employers Comment 240
Ch. 12 The Bus from Hell Hole Swamp: Black Women in the Hospitality Industry 267
Ch. 13 Stretched to Their Limits: Rural Nonfarm Mothers and the "New" Rural Economy 291
Ch. 14 Earning a Living and Building a Life: Income-Generating and Income-Saving Strategies of Rural Wisconsin Families 316
Ch. 15 Livelihood Strategies of Farmers in Puerto Rico's Central Region: Survival in the Context of Economic Restructuring and Policy Change 339
Ch. 16 Older Workers and Retirement in Rural Contexts 366
Ch. 17 The Social and Economic Context of Informal Work 394
Empirical Realities, Theoretical Lessons, and Political Implications of Communities of Work: What Have We Learned? 419
Contributors 430
Index 437
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