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Prairie Town

Redefining Rural Life in the Age of Globalization

Jacqueline Edmondson

Prairie Town: Redefining Rural Life in the Age of Globalization describes the contemporary rural condition and efforts to sustain rural life in one small Minnesota community at the turn of the 21st century. Like many other agricultural based towns, Prairie Town struggled for survival within the context of the on-going farm crisis, NAFTA, neoliberal agricultural policies, and growing agribusiness that negatively impacted many farmers throughout the world. The effects of globalization, the displacement of rural workers to urban areas, and the deterioration of rural life were a widespread phenomenon. In spite of these complex issues, Prairie Town worked to define a new rural— life, one which entailed a new rural literacy—a new way of reading rural life-that changed the way rural life, work, and education were realized. Prairie Town's story offers us hope as we learn that neoliberalism is not inevitable, nor is the demise of rural America. From this community, we learn that not everything can be bought and sold, and disidentification with dominant societal structures is possible within a participatory democratic society. New cultural models can be constructed that enable individuals in Prairie Town and elsewhere to actively work to construct ways of being that are consistent with their values and hopes for how they might live together. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 176Size: 6 x 9 3/8
978-0-7425-1941-1 • Hardback • June 2003 • $102.00 • (£70.00)
978-0-7425-1942-8 • Paperback • June 2003 • $36.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-4616-1335-0 • eBook • June 2003 • $34.00 • (£23.95)
Jacqueline Edmondson is assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University.
1 Acknowledgements
2 Introduction
3 Part One: The Contemporary Rural Condition
4 Chapter 1: Rural Community in a Global Village: The View from Prairie Town
5 Chapter 2: Agricultural Policy and Labor Issues in Rural Minnesota
6 Part Two: Rural Literacies
7 Chapter 3: Traditional Rural Literacy
8 Chapter 4: Neoliberalism and Rural Literacy
9 Part Three: Toward a New Rural Literacy
10 Chapter 5: The Prairie Renaissance
11 Chapter 6: Joining Hands: Connecting Prairie Town to the World, and the World to Prairie Town
12 References
13 Index
Prairie Town is a first-rate and indispensable contribution to the 'New Literacy Studies.' The book elegantly demonstrates how the new global economy seeks to rewrite communities and how those communities, in turn, struggle to understand, contest, and sometimes transform such changes through word, print, and deed.
James Gee, University of Wisconsin-Madison

How can a critical educational project—historically focused on the urban, the cosmopolitan and the multicultural—engage with the new rural white diaspora? Jacqueline Edmondson begins and ends where the best analyses of globalisation and education should: with a personal but explicitly political analysis of local community lives and struggles. Her reading of rural life is a poetic and hopeful educational narrative. Read this after you've finished 'Fast Food Nation'
Allan Luke, The University of Queensland

An interesting perspective on rural community development. Rural sociologists will find much to contemplate and appreciate in this articulate, impassioned description of rural malaise and the possibilities for community renewal. Recommended.

Timely and engaging, Prairie Town: Redefining Rural Life in the Age of Globalization illuminates a segment of American society that is often ignored.
Harvard Educational Review

Jackie Edmondson has written one of the most important, if not the best, books ever written on rural education. Every page is filled with critical insight and passion. Edmondson brings a much-needed critical eye as to both identifying the problems facing public education and how they might be constructively addressed. This is a brilliant and wise book. Read and cheer for a voice that still believes that teaching and learning are not only about acquiring civic knowledge and concrete skills, but also about addressing matters of justice, compassion, and democracy.
Henry A. Giroux, McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest