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Reinventing Rural


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Table of Contents

Part I. Cautionary Tales and the Costs of Traditional Rural Development 1. The Need to Reinvent Rural, Alexander R. Thomas and Gregory Fulkerson 2. Urban Dependency and Urbanormativity, Alexander R. Thomas 3. The Rural Mystique in American Society, Fern K. Willits, Gene L. Theodori, and Michael W.P. Fortunato 4. Reinventing Rural Environmental Justice, Laura McKinney 5. Urbanization, Land Use, and Environmental Change: A Sociological Perspective, Matthew Clement 6. Centralia, Pennsylvania: Disaster or Apathy? Carrie L. Kane and Alexander R. Thomas Part II. Reinventing Rural in an Urbanizing World 7. Rural Economic Vitality, Gregory Fulkerson and Alexander R. Thomas 8. Build it and They Will Come? The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and Jay Peak Resort, Aimee Vieira 9. What do They Do up There? A Look at Two Non-Metropolitan Counties in New York State, Stephanie Bennett 10. Reframing Rural Education: Implications of the Rural Mystique and its Absence in Educational Policy, Leanne M. Avery and Michael W.P. Fortunato Chapter 11. Doggonit, People Live Here! The Unmet Challenges of Rural Behavioral Health, James Zians 12. Conclusion: Reinventing Rural Revisited, Gregory Fulkerson and Alexander R. Thomas

About the Author

Dr. Gregory M. Fulkerson is associate professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Oneonta. Dr. Alexander R. Thomas is professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Oneonta.


A dozen sociologists and interdisciplinary interlocutors theorize recent and ongoing transformations of rural life, with an overall geographical focus on the eastern and northeastern US. Topics covered include health, education, the "rural mystique," tourism, environment, and economic revitalization efforts. Among studies of rural change, this volume is notable for its attention to the effects of energy development in rural areas, with chapters dedicating some attention to mountaintop removal techniques in mining, former coal towns, and oil/gas extraction. Several of the authors make instructive use of the concept of "urbanormativity," which they define as the widespread tendency to cast urban lifeways as the default, with a resulting rural dependence on cities and easy degradation of rural life. Although the volume is enriched by careful case studies, many contributors are not shy about long-term and large-scale theorization of rural change, linking contemporary transformations to patterns of rural/urban interaction that extend back to the Neolithic and are shaped by the "planetary boundaries" of biodiversity, the nitrogen cycle, and climate change. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, faculty, specialists. * CHOICE *
Fulkerson and Thomas have provided rural scholars a valuable collection of perspectives, cases, and critiques of contemporary rural life. The volume is well-anchored in place, both through the use of the authors' home region as a foil, and through careful selection of case studies. The approach is appropriately critical, urging (and helping) the reader move beyond classic stereotypes: it engages the rural mystique analytically rather that becoming dewy eyed, it carefully engages urban-rural synergies, pluralism in rural knowledge, and the rural manifestation of justice. The notion of reinventing rural is timely, useful, and moves the reader well past critique towards workable solutions. -- Richard Clark Stedman, Cornell University
Alexander R. Thomas and Gregory M. Fulkerson have put together a great academic but readable resource for those interested in understanding the profound changes occurring in rural America and the complexity of rural society today. In addition, they provide useful and interesting insights into how rural people and places can thrive and develop in the future by building off of their strengths. -- Jessica D. Ulrich-Schad, South Dakota State University

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