ERIC Number: ED370749
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Feb-8
Reference Count: N/A
Political Trends Affecting Nonmetropolitan America.
Nachtigal, Paul M.
There are two stories about political trends affecting nonmetropolitan America. The old story, which is the story of declining rural population and declining rural influence on public policy formation, has its roots in early deliberations about governance in this country. Jefferson's republicanism focused on direct citizen involvement in decision making, with an implicit belief that people could rise above their own interests to pursue a common good. The federalists feared the instability of republican governments and concentrated on institutionalizing politics as the business of balancing interests, with the Constitution as a framework protecting the working of a "commercially competitive civil society." Eventually, the federalist view prevailed, setting the stage for the battles of rural versus urban interests that continue today. Under the current rules of the game, where numbers equate with power and power equates with privilege, rural people can only become more and more disadvantaged. A different world view is now emerging and may be found in the writings of Daniel Kemmis, David Orr, Wendell Berry, and others. Society is simultaneously bumping up against the limits of deteriorating communities and the limits of what the natural environment can sustain. In the new story, the ground rules of politics shift from those of a "commercially competitive civil society" to those based on "ecological sustainability." This shift must begin by redefining the arena of our lives to be the regional ecosystem, and by refocusing public problem solving as the "politics of place." Education, which has been shaped by federalism as surely as has the political system that it serves, must also be "re-formed," and must include experiences that foster a sense of place. Contains 6 references. (SV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Political History; Sense of Place
Note: Paper presented at the Rural Education Symposium during the Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 7, 1994).