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Mieres Reborn Cover

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Mieres Reborn

The Reinvention of a Catalan Community

Mieres Reborn reveals how patient observation and an analysis of one small community have much to tell us about human progress more generally.
 
Not long ago Mieres, a village in the eastern foothills of the Pyrenees, seemed destined to die. As in countless thousands of rural communities around the world, young people in Mieres over the years have moved to the towns and cities, leaving behind abandoned fields and meadows, derelict houses, and their aging and disconsolate parents and grandparents.
 
Close observation of this social microcosm over two decades reveals the capacity of ordinary people in a locality to reinvent themselves, reconstruct relationships with the wider world, and confront new threats to their collective survival. A. F. Robertson describes how the determination that Mieres should survive is most evident in a vigorous round of fiestas, fairs, and other public events in which natives, exiles, and newcomers work to create a lively sense of belonging. Since the 1980s, Mieres has been enlivened by a reverse flow of migrants from the cities, new settlers who have brought an infusion of youth to the community, devised new livelihoods, revitalized the village school, energized the native ”Mierencs,” and provided the impetus for a rediscovery of historical roots and political identity.
 
The regeneration of life in the countryside, in part a reaction to urban expansion and decay, is a global phenomenon of increasing political, economic, and social significance.

Mining Coal and Undermining Gender Cover

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Mining Coal and Undermining Gender

Rhythms of Work and Family in the American West

by Jessica Rolston

Though mining is an infamously masculine industry, women make up 20 percent of all production crews in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin—the largest coal-producing region in the United States. How do these women fit into a working culture supposedly hostile to females? This is what anthropologist Jessica Smith Rolston, herself a onetime mine worker and the daughter of a miner, set out to discover. Her answers, based on years of participant-observation in four mines and extensive interviews with miners, managers, engineers, and the families of mine employees, offer a rich and surprising view of the working “families” that miners construct. In this picture, gender roles are not nearly as straightforward—or as straitened—as stereotypes suggest.Gender is far from the primary concern of coworkers in crews. Far more important, Rolston finds, is protecting the safety of the entire crew and finding a way to treat each other well despite the stresses of their jobs. These miners share the burden of rotating shift work—continually switching between twelve-hour day and night shifts—which deprives them of the daily rhythms of a typical home, from morning breakfasts to bedtime stories. Rolston identifies the mine workers’ response to these shared challenges as a new sort of constructed kinship that both challenges and reproduces gender roles in their everyday working and family lives.Crews’ expectations for coworkers to treat one another like family and to adopt an “agricultural” work ethic tend to minimize gender differences. And yet, these differences remain tenacious in the equation of masculinity with technical expertise, and of femininity with household responsibilities. For Rolston, such lingering areas of inequality highlight the importance of structural constraints that flout a common impulse among men and women to neutralize the significance of gender, at home and in the workplace.At a time when the Appalachian region continues to dominate discussion of mining culture, this book provides a very different and unexpected view—of how miners live and work together, and of how their lives and work reconfigure ideas of gender and kinship.

Mountains of Injustice Cover

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Mountains of Injustice

Social and Environmental Justice in Appalachia

Michele Morrone

Research in environmental justice reveals that low-income and minority neighborhoods in our nation’s cities are often the preferred sites for landfills, power plants, and polluting factories. Those who live in these sacrifice zones are forced to shoulder the burden of harmful environmental effects so that others can prosper. Mountains of Injustice broadens the discussion from the city to the country by focusing on the legacy of disproportionate environmental health impacts on communities in the Appalachian region, where the costs of cheap energy and cheap goods are actually quite high. Through compelling stories and interviews with people who are fighting for environmental justice, Mountains of Injustice contributes to the ongoing debate over how to equitably distribute the long-term environmental costs and consequences of economic development. 

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Opening Windows onto Hidden Lives

Women, Country Life, and Early Rural Sociological Research

Julie N. Zimmerman and Olaf F. Larson

Pella Dutch Cover

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Pella Dutch

Portrait of a Language in an Iowa Community

Philip E. Weber

Founded in 1847 by religious separatists, the town of Pella in central Iowa is the state’s oldest Dutch American colony, and its crafts, architecture, and celebrations reflect and perpetuate the Dutch heritage of its earlier residents. Through his intriguing blend of sociolinguistic research, regional history, and interviews with current speakers of Pella Dutch, Philip Webber examines the town’s rich cultural and linguistic traditions.

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Power, Change, and Gender Relations in Rural Java

Women’s status in rural Java can appear contradictory to those both inside and outside the culture. In some ways, women have high status and broad access to resources, but other situations suggest that Javanese women lack real power and autonomy. Javanese women have major responsibilities in supporting their families and controlling household finances. They may also own and manage their own property. Yet these symbols and potential sources of independence and influence are determined by a culturally prescribed, state-reinforced, patriarchal gender ideology that limits women’s autonomy. Power, Change, and Gender Relations in Rural Java examines this contradiction as well as sources of stability and change in contemporary Javanese gender relations. The authors conducted their research in two rural villages in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, during three important historical and political periods: the end of the New Order regime; the transitional period of reformation; and the subsequent establishment of a democratic government. Their collaboration brings a unique perspective, analyzing how gender is constructed and reproduced and how power is exercised as Indonesia faces the challenges of building a new social order. 

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Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian South

John Inscoe

Among the most pervasive of stereotypes imposed upon southern highlanders is that they were white, opposed slavery, and supported the Union before and during the Civil War, but the historical record suggests far different realities. John C. Inscoe has spent much of his scholarly career exploring the social, economic and political significance of slavery and slaveholding in the mountain South and the complex nature of the region’s wartime loyalties, and the brutal guerrilla warfare and home front traumas that stemmed from those divisions. The essays here embrace both facts and fictions related to those issues, often conveyed through intimate vignettes that focus on individuals, families, and communities, keeping the human dimension at the forefront of his insights and analysis. Drawing on the memories, memoirs, and other testimony of slaves and free blacks, slaveholders and abolitionists, guerrilla warriors, invading armies, and the highland civilians they encountered, Inscoe considers this multiplicity of perspectives and what is revealed about highlanders’ dual and overlapping identities as both a part of, and distinct from, the South as a whole. He devotes attention to how the truths derived from these contemporary voices were exploited, distorted, reshaped, reinforced, or ignored by later generations of novelists, journalists, filmmakers, dramatists, and even historians with differing agendas over the course of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His cast of characters includes John Henry, Frederick Law Olmsted and John Brown, Andrew Johnson and Zebulon Vance, and those who later interpreted their stories—John Fox and John Ehle, Thomas Wolfe and Charles Frazier, Emma Bell Miles and Harry Caudill, Carter Woodson and W. J. Cash, Horace Kephart and John C. Campbell, even William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. Their work and that of many others have contributed much to either our understanding—or misunderstanding—of nineteenth century Appalachia and its place in the American imagination.

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Reactions to the Market

Small Farmers in the Economic Reshaping of Nicaragua, Cuba, Russia, and China

Laura J. Enríquez

Rural Cooperation Cover

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Rural Cooperation

In The Cooperative Movement in Tanzania

ìNo person, no country in the world, irrespective of its stage of development, is fully self-sufficient. Cooperation brings together peoples and nations and facilitates peaceful co-existence.î So begins Rural Cooperation In The Cooperative Movement In Tanzania, what will undoubtedly be seen as a seminal work in the field. The author has lectured a course on Rural Cooperation in Tanzania at the University of Dar es Salaam for seven consecutive years, but lack of appropriate books with adequate coverage of the course content obliged him to conduct extensive research on cooperation and cooperatives. The resulting book covers the entire field and addresses the subject by providing a foundation on which wider study can be based. It is intended to make its readers aware of the strategies and challenges of cooperation and has a wider relevance, as it will be useful to policy makers in the cooperative sector, which is a significant part of the private sector in Tanzania, and indeed in most African countries. By June 2008, there were 2614 agricultural marketing cooperative societies, 4780 savings and credits cooperative societies, 71 livestock cooperative societies, 129 fishing cooperative societies, 11 housing cooperative societies, 3 mining cooperative societies, 185 industrial cooperative societies, 98 water irrigation cooperative societies, 4 transport cooperative societies, 103 consumer cooperative societies, and 553 service and other cooperative societies; perfectly illustrative of the movementís scope and the need to pay it careful attention. The topics included make it appropriate for use in Sociology, Rural Development, Marketing, Development Studies and studies in other specialties in the Social Sciences. From an exploration of the cooperative movementís various international iterations to a perspicacious survey of the history of cooperatives in Tanzania, Dr. Lyimo highlights the issues facing farmers and business people and illustrates the way in which cooperative effort- enterprises that put people, and not capital, at the center of their business- can not only improve membersí economic power in bargaining for better marketing conditions and prices, but also to increase employment opportunities, thereby improving the standard of living for a large number of people. In these times of penury and economic disenfranchisement, this book not only fills the information gap, but provides, in the ultimate chapters, ìProcedures for Organizing a Cooperative Societyî, and ìManaging Rural Cooperative Societiesî, the basic principles and advice for those considering the cooperative model as the best means of improving their economic viability.

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Rural Life and Culture in the Upper Cumberland

Michael Birdwell

Tennessee History Book Award Finalist The Upper Cumberland region of Kentucky and Tennessee, often regarded as isolated and out of pace with the rest of the country, has a far richer history and culture than has been documented. The contributors to Rural Life and Culture in the Upper Cumberland discuss an extensive array of subjects, including popular music, movies, architecture, folklore, religion, and literature. Seventeen original essays by prominent scholars such as Lynwood Montell, Charles Wolfe, Allison Ensor, and Jeannette Keith uncover fascinating stories and personalities as they explore topics including wartime hero Alvin C. York, Socialist Party Tennessee gubernatorial candidate Kate Brockford Stockton, and even a thriving nudist colony, the Timberline Lodge.

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