Consumers in the Country: Technology and Social Change in Rural America / Edition 1

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Overview

Consumers in the Country Ronald 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 the technologies to rural culture.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Explores relationships among professionals, government agencies, sales people, and others who promoted urbanizing technologies such as electricity and the telephone, and the farm families who succeeded in adapting the technologies to rural culture. Demonstrates that farm folk were more than passive recipients of urban technology, and shows how they created novel ways of life as they negotiated the terms of new communication, transportation, and household technologies. Kline teaches the history of technology at Cornell University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Choice

This extremely thorough presentation presents a clear picture of how industries changed, and were changed by, farm families.

Nebraska History
Kline's work is strong in a number of areas... The study is a well written and well researched compilation... and should be standard reading for those interested in the transformation of rural America in the twentieth century.

— Allen Shepherd

Journal of American History
Kline fills a real gap in our understanding of the ways rural Americans incorporated technology into their daily lives.

— Melissa Walker

Journal of Illinois History
His social historical-technological approach makes any historical study of technology ultimately much more valuable.

— Tyler O. Walters

Kansas History
A welcome addition.

— Pamela Riney-Kehrberg

Technology and Culture
Consumers in the Country provides an important and very welcome venture into both the history of consumption patterns—an underdeveloped subject in our field—and nonurban people.

— Deborah Fitzgerald

Annals of Iowa
Careful, meticulously researched, and well written.

— David Blanke

Choice

This extremely thorough presentation presents a clear picture of how industries changed, and were changed by, farm families.

Western Historical Quarterly
Well-researched, entertaining, and generally convincing.

— Brian Q. Cannon

Journal of Appalachian Studies
Kline does a fine job in describing the ways in which rural people made new technologies part of their lives, noting regional, class, and gender implications. His writing is clear, thoughtful, intelligent, and often highly amusing.

— Jeanette Keith

Great Plains Research
Kline's presentation of farmers as historical actors who controlled acceptance of technology on their own terms is valuable and should inform future studies of agricultural communities.

— Barbara Handy-Marchello

History: Reviews of New Books
Consumers in the Country makes important contributions to scholarship in the history and theory of technology and the social history of rural life.

— Mark Finlay

Nebraska History - Allen Shepherd

Kline's work is strong in a number of areas... The study is a well written and well researched compilation... and should be standard reading for those interested in the transformation of rural America in the twentieth century.

Journal of American History - Melissa Walker

Kline fills a real gap in our understanding of the ways rural Americans incorporated technology into their daily lives.

Journal of Illinois History - Tyler O. Walters

His social historical-technological approach makes any historical study of technology ultimately much more valuable.

Kansas History - Pamela Riney-Kehrberg

A welcome addition.

Technology and Culture - Deborah Fitzgerald

Consumers in the Country provides an important and very welcome venture into both the history of consumption patterns—an underdeveloped subject in our field—and nonurban people.

Annals of Iowa - David Blanke

Careful, meticulously researched, and well written.

History: Reviews of New Books - Mark Finlay

Consumers in the Country makes important contributions to scholarship in the history and theory of technology and the social history of rural life.

Western Historical Quarterly - Brian Q. Cannon

Well-researched, entertaining, and generally convincing.

Journal of Appalachian Studies - Jeanette Keith

Kline does a fine job in describing the ways in which rural people made new technologies part of their lives, noting regional, class, and gender implications. His writing is clear, thoughtful, intelligent, and often highly amusing.

Great Plains Research - Barbara Handy-Marchello

Kline's presentation of farmers as historical actors who controlled acceptance of technology on their own terms is valuable and should inform future studies of agricultural communities.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801871153
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 9/10/2002
  • Series: Revisiting Rural America Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald R. Kline is a professor of history of technology at Cornell University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Science and Technology Studies and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Urban Technology and Rural Reform
Ch. 1 Reinventing the Telephone 23
Ch. 2 Taming the Devil Wagon 55
Ch. 3 Defining Modernity in the Home 87
Ch. 4 Tuning In the Country 113
Pt. 2 A New Deal in Rural Electrification
Ch. 5 Creating the REA 131
Ch. 6 Struggling for Local Autonomy 153
Ch. 7 Lights in the Country 178
Pt. 3 Postwar Consumerism
Ch. 8 Completing the Job 215
Ch. 9 Reforming Rural Life 241
Conclusion: Consumers All? 272
Appendix 283
List of Abbreviations 299
Notes 303
Bibliographical and Methodological Note 355
Index 363
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