The Transformation of Rural Life: Southern Illinois, 1890-1990 [NOOK Book]

Overview

Jane Adams focuses on the transformation of rural life in Union County, Illinois, as she explores the ways in which American farming has been experienced and understood in the twentieth century. Reconstructing the histories of seven farms, she places the details of daily life within the context of political and economic change. Adams identifies contradictions that, on a personal level, influenced relations between children and parents, men and women, and bosses and laborers, and that, more generally, changed ...
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The Transformation of Rural Life: Southern Illinois, 1890-1990

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Overview

Jane Adams focuses on the transformation of rural life in Union County, Illinois, as she explores the ways in which American farming has been experienced and understood in the twentieth century. Reconstructing the histories of seven farms, she places the details of daily life within the context of political and economic change. Adams identifies contradictions that, on a personal level, influenced relations between children and parents, men and women, and bosses and laborers, and that, more generally, changed structures of power within the larger rural community. In this historical ethnography, Adams traces two contradictory narratives: one stresses plenitude--rich networks of neighbors and kin, the ability to supply families from the farm, the generosity shown to those in need--while the other stresses the acute hardships and oppressive class, gender, and age inequities that characterized farm life. The New Deal and World War II disrupted both patterns, as the increased capital necessary for successful farming forced many to move from agriculture to higher-paid nonfarm work. This shift also changed the structure of the farm household, as homes modernized and women found work off the farm. Adams concludes that large-scale bureaucracies leveled existing class distinctions and that community networks eroded as farmers came to realize an improved standard of living.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Adams . . . communicates a love of place and an empathy with people that is captivating.

Anthropological Quarterly

A significant case study and a well-written and attractively produced book. . . . A major contribution to our field.

Agricultural History

[A] strong and important contribution to the history of rural life in the United States.

Journal of American History

A treasure trove of information.

Illinois Historical Journal

Solidly researched, well argued, and beautifully written.

John Mack Faragher, Yale University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807860045
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 12/16/1994
  • Series: Studies in Rural Culture
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Jane Adams is associate professor of anthropology and associate professor of history at Southern Illinois University.
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Table of Contents

Preface. To Refresh the Minds of Its People xv
Acknowledgments xxv
Chapter 1 The Way It Was 1
Chapter 2 And We Called It Union County 37
Chapter 3 We Never Wanted for Anything 49
Chapter 4 We Worked Can See to Can't See 73
Chapter 5 All I Knew Was to Work 84
Chapter 6 House of Plenty, House of Poor 108
Chapter 7 We Were the Fattest People Ever Going to the Poor House 132
Chapter 8 God Bless Franklin Roosevelt 144
Chapter 9 Labor Got So Tight 162
Chapter 10 It Was Either I Work or We Sell the Farm 185
Chapter 11 We Used to Eat Inside and Shit Outside; Now We Eat Outside and Shit Inside 199
Chapter 12 When They Retired, They Came Back Home 226
Chapter 13 What Good Old Days? 243
Notes 255
Sources 279
Index 311
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