Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America

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Overview

Winner of the 2009 Ruth Benedict Prize for Outstanding Monograph from the Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists

Winner of the 2010 Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association, Sociology of Sexualities Section

Winner of the 2010 Congress Inaugural Qualitative Inquiry Book Award Honorable Mention

From Wal-Mart drag parties to renegade Homemaker's Clubs, Out in the Country offers an unprecedented contemporary account of the lives of today's rural queer youth. Mary L. Gray maps out the experiences of young people living in small towns across rural Kentucky and along its desolate Appalachian borders, providing a fascinating and often surprising look at the contours of gay life beyond the big city. Gray illustrates that, against a backdrop of an increasingly impoverished and privatized rural America, LGBT youth and their allies visibly—and often vibrantly—work the boundaries of the public spaces available to them, whether in their high schools, public libraries, town hall meetings, churches, or through websites. This important book shows that, in addition to the spaces of Main Street, rural LGBT youth explore and carve out online spaces to fashion their emerging queer identities. Their triumphs and travails defy clear distinctions often drawn between online and offline experiences of identity, fundamentally redefining our understanding of the term 'queer visibility' and its political stakes. Gray combines ethnographic insight with incisive cultural critique, engaging with some of the biggest issues facing both queer studies and media scholarship. Out in the Country is a timely and groundbreaking study of sexuality and gender, new media, youth culture, and the meaning of identity and social movements in a digital age.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Out in the Country gives hope that times are changing, highlighting the lives of today's rural queer youth through a series of case studies focusing on the efforts of advocates to increase gay visibility. Informative and insightful--you'll be surprised by what you find!”
-MIX Word

,

"Mary Gray's ambitious new ethnography, Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America, explores how youth in the rural United States "lay claim to LGBT identities" and "confront the politics of gay visibility, expectations, and constraints" (p. 3) in these communities, most notably in her fields sites in rural Kentucky.-American Anthropologist,

"It's inspiring to hear that rural kids aren't just running away: they are courageously creating their own organizations and utilizing social media to promote queer-awareness - and for this revelation alone, it is an important book... Gray's work reveals to us that keeping country roots intact as a queer person is not impossible, and is in fact necessary for the greater equality movement. Out in the Country teaches us - via a mixture of ethnographic understanding and cultural critique - that queer visibility in rural spaces isn't unfeasible as much as it is under-represented."-Krista Houstoun, Blogout.com,

"Gray's work, particularly with its focus on queer youth, is a welcome addition to this scholarship [of LGBT life in rural areas], and with good reason it was awarded the 2009 Ruth Benedict Prize by the American Anthropological Association for outstanding monograph."-Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review,

Out in the Country promises to excite and ignite our critical imaginations as it pushes us to reckon with the complexity of queer lives away from the urban spotlight. Gray has done a stupendous job in bringing these stories to light, and in analyzing them with such warmth, humor, and insight.”
-Suzanna Danuta Walters,author of All the Rage

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814731932
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 293
  • Sales rank: 1,016,139
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary L. Gray is Assistant Professor of Communication and Culture at Indiana University at Bloomington and author of In Your Face: Stories from the Lives of Queer Youth.

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