Rural Communities


Cornelia Butler Flora, Jan L. Flora, Stephen P. Gasteyer

Fifth Edition • July 7, 2015 • 448 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813349718 • $50.00 USD$57.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813349923 • $33.99 USD$33.99 CAN

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Communities in rural America are a complex mixture of peoples and cultures, ranging from miners who have been laid off in West Virginia, to Laotian immigrants relocating in Kansas to work at a beef processing plant, to entrepreneurs drawing up plans for a world-class ski resort in California’s Sierra Nevada. Rural Communities: Legacy + Change uses its unique Community Capitals framework to examine how America’s diverse rural communities use their various capitals—natural, cultural, human, social, political, financial, and built—to address the modern challenges that face them.

Each chapter opens with a case study of a community facing a particular challenge, and is followed by a comprehensive discussion of sociological concepts to be applied to understanding the case. This narrative, topical approach makes the book accessible and engaging for undergraduate students, while its integrative approach provides them with a framework for understanding rural society based on the concepts and explanations of social science

This fifth edition is updated throughout with 2013 census data and features new and expanded coverage of health and health care, food systems and alternatives, the effects of neoliberalism and globalization on rural communities, as well as an expanded resource and activity section at the end of each chapter.


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Cornelia Butler Flora is Charles F. Curtis Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Agriculture and Life Sciences at at Iowa State University.

Jan L. Flora is professor in the Department of Sociology at Iowa State University.

Stephen P. Gasteyer is assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University.

Part One
Introduction

Chapter 1: Community Capitals and the Rural Landscape
The Rural Landscape
Defining Rural
Defining Community
Rural Communities and Change
Market, State, and Civil Society
About This Book
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Discussion Questions
Web Resources
References

Part Two
Components of Rural Communities: The Community Capitals

Chapter 2: Natural Capital
Land Use
Water Concerns
Importance of Biodiversity
Climate Change
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Discussion Questions
Web Resources
References

Chapter 3: Cultural Capital
Rural Values?
Cultural Capital and Social Problems
Diversity in Rural Cultural Capital
Conflicting Cultural Capitals and Cultural Domination
Cultural Capital and Hierarchy
Cultural Capital and the Family
Transmitting Culture through the Community
Impact of Gender, Race, and Ethnicity
Inequality: Whose Cultural Capital?
Creating Shared Cultural Capital
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Discussion Questions
Web Resources
References

Chapter 4: Human Capital
What is Human Capital
Changes in the Quantity of Human Capital
Migration of Human Capital
How Different Capitals Impact Health Status in Rural Areas
Health Equity
The Affordable Care Act and Rural America
Building Human Capital
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Discussion Questions
Web Resources
References

Chapter 5: Social Capital and Community
What is Social Capital
Measuring Social Capital
Bonding and Bridging Social Capital: Homogeneity or Inclusion?
Entrepreneurial Social Infrastructure
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Discussion Questions
Web Resources
References

Chapter 6: Political Capital
Political Capital
Power and Economic Interests
Whistleblowers and Political Capital
Power Structure and Community Change
Understanding Power Structure and Increasing the Political Capital of Excluded Groups
Who Gains?
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Discussion Questions
Web Resources
References

Chapter 7: Financial Capital
The Concept of Financial Capital
Accounting and Accountability
Forms of Financial Capital
Financial Capital and Community Needs
Sources of Capital
The Changing Rules of Financial Capital and Increasing Inequality
Business Financial Capital and Community
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Discussion Questions
Web Resources
References

Chapter 8: Built Capital
Defining Built Capital
Public Versus Private Provision of Built Capital
Community Choices
Federal, State, and Local Roles: Making Linkages
Motivation to Act
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Discussion Questions
Web Resources
References

Part Three
Community Capitals and Community Development in a Changing World

Chapter 9: The Global Economy
Altering Globalization: The Growing Importance of Financial Capital
Rural Linkages to a World Economy
Opportunities and Risks: Rural Areas in the Global Economy
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Discussion Questions
Web Resources
References

Chapter 10: Consumption in Rural America
Why is Consumption Important
Consumption and Consumerism in Rural Areas
Impacts of Increased Consumption
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Discussion Questions
Web Resources
References

Chapter 11: Governance
What is Governance?
Organization and Functions of Local Governments
Challenges Face by Local Governments
Providing Public Services: An Example of Collaboration
Sustained Citizen Engagement
Leveraging Regional Resources
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Discussion Questions
Web Resources
References

Chapter 12: Generating Social Change
Community Development
Models of Community Development
Factors in Effective Change
Approaches to Economic Development
Chapter Summary
Key Terms
Discussion Questions
Web Resources
References

Praise for the fifth edition:

“I have used this book since the first edition came out. The key strength of that edition and each edition that followed has been the conceptual framework of community capitals that helps students understand the connectivity between social, cultural, economic, and political issues and how they relate to the built and natural environments. This framework allows students to comprehend the complexity of community and to identify strengths and weaknesses in their own communities that can be used in promoting purposeful and positive change.”
Conner Bailey, Auburn University

Rural Communities is the most complete textbook that I know of for the social science approach to understanding communities. The Floras are successful in combining basic concepts and theories of community with practical examples that students and professionals can use for their work and in their own communities. The book challenges students to take a critical look at communities, including underlying processes and structures that exist in all communities.”
Richard Maurer, University of Kentucky

Rural Communities: Legacy and Change is a well-organized, highly readable text introducing students to rural sociology. The use of personal vignettes to illustrate key concepts and the theoretical Community Capitals Framework to facilitate discussion of critical components of rural communities help students come to understand the dynamics of stability and change in those communities.”
Liza Kuecker, Western New Mexico University

“…a cogent overview of the theory, issues, and applications that drive current-day rural studies. The book is very readable, and provides adequate, thorough coverage. If [undergraduate students] engage the material they will find a wealth of stories and case studies that illustrate and highlight the issues facing rural communities today.”
Ben Amsden, Plymouth State University

“The Floras have provided creative and useful sociological analysis of rural populations and rural living which is deeply and convincingly argued.”
Kathryn Hovey, New Mexico State University

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