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ERIC Number: ED192984
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980-Aug
Pages: 34
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Rural Theory.
Gilbert, Jess
To be scientific, rural sociology must have a distinctive conceptual basis; therefore, defining "rural" has long been a major concern of rural sociologists. Recently faced with similar problems, political economists have revitalized the field of urban sociology by looking beyond the city to the social production of spatial forms under capitalism. This study applies a related critique to rural sociology, which has traditionally defined "rural" as cultural, ecological, or occupational. The two main explanations of rural culture are inadequate. "Gemeinschaft" is essentially non-capitalist and also not specifically rural; the same conceptual tools offered by the new urbanists can be used to analyze all types of contemporary communities. Human ecology reduces culture to an outgrowth of settlement patterns, thus obscuring the structure of social and economic relations. The current proposal for a comprehensive rural ecology identifies some definite objects of study, but its theories of space and society fail to consider underlying political-economic determinants. Two suggested constituents of rural are: "capitalist space" in the form of exploited, peripheral regions; and the "mode of primary production," distinguished by its unique, direct interaction with the natural environment. Rural sociologists are now beginning to treat agriculture, the other extractive industries, and regional underdevelopment as crucial elements in the larger capitalist social system. (Author/CM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A