Poverty, Family, and Kinship in a Heartland Community

Poverty, Family, and Kinship in a Heartland Community

by David L. Harvey
     
 

With a few notable exceptions, sociological studies of poor, native-born, non-ethnic whites in rural areas are rare. This book corrects this oversight with an ethnographic study of a small, poor, white, heartland community that the author calls "Potter Addition." The community consists of some 100 families and is located on the rural-urban fringe of a

Overview

With a few notable exceptions, sociological studies of poor, native-born, non-ethnic whites in rural areas are rare. This book corrects this oversight with an ethnographic study of a small, poor, white, heartland community that the author calls "Potter Addition." The community consists of some 100 families and is located on the rural-urban fringe of a medium-sized Midwestern city.

Poverty, Family, and Kinship in a Heartland Community is the story of three generations of rural families who, one after another, have been driven from the land during the last seventy-five years. Harvey argues against the grain of a number of recent studies that "Potter Addition's" poverty, like much modern poverty, has its origins in the productive contradictions of late capitalism. It is not the result of some moral or motivational defect of the poor themselves. At the same time he shows, even as they struggle to survive their uncertain niche and learn how to adapt, these families play an active role in reproducing the everyday material and cultural details of their poverty from the substance of their daily experiences.

Working from this premise, Harvey provides a detailed ethnographic description of "Potter Addition" and its people. The volume focuses especially on the family and kinship structures that have developed in "Potter Addition" and shows how they fit into the overall response of the poor to their uncertain and unpredictable class situation. This is a unique effort by a knowledgeable researcher who, in this work, boldly steps outside conventional realms of discourse in sociology and geography.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Provides an excellent and provocative discussion of poverty and class that will be appreciated by readers interested in an ecological or open-systems approach to understanding poverty.” —Sandra Beeman, Social Service Review “Harvey’s Potter Addition reveals that we still have much to learn from the poor about the culture of poverty as well as about ourselves. . . . Provide[s] substantial empirical evidence for theoretically exploring the structure of poverty and its subculture.” —Bennett M. Judkins, Social Forces “This book is a lively and though-provoking account of a much maligned social group, and there is much to engage scholars from a variety of areas and perspectives. It is an impressive undertaking which is to be commended for both the breadth and the depth of its analysis. It can be read at a number of levels and should prove useful for both upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses as well as for scholars of poverty, community, the family, and stratification.” —Ann R. Tuckamyer, American Journal of Sociology “The strength and primary focus of the book are a detailed analysis of kinship and the family.” —Rex R. Campbell, Contemporary Sociology

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780202362052
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
02/28/2008
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.76(d)

Meet the Author

David L. Harvey is professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is interested in the fields of chaos theory and social revolution and what they mean for sociological research. He has written many articles on chaos theory and its application in the social sciences.

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