ERIC Number: EJ783016
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Reference Count: 0
The Two-Ness of Rural Life and the Ends of Rural Scholarship
Bell, Michael M.
Journal of Rural Studies, v23 n4 p402-415 Oct 2007
I analyze the current return of academic rural doubt in the US in terms of an old intellectual quandary: what is the rural? I argue that scholars have two dominant epistemologies of the rural, what I term first rural and second rural, and correspondingly different political visions. By first rural I mean the material moment of the rural, to which we typically grant priority. By second rural I mean the ideal moment of the rural, which we typically regard as secondary, even when we argue that it is the only remaining rural. I analyze the origin of this priority of the rural in terms of the modernist/postmodernist divide, which I trace through the current American emphasis on first rural and the current European and Antipodean emphasis on second rural, noting how each emphasis often develops to the exclusion of the other. I trace as well the association of first rural with a modernist politics of defense of the rural boundary, and of second rural with a postmodernist politics of discourse that engages by deconstructing the rural. I argue for a rural plural vision that embraces first rural and second rural equally, stimulates a correspondingly more inclusive and practical politics of the rural, and keeps our understanding of the rural forever moving on.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
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