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Gettin' Some Age on Me

Social Organization of Older People in a Rural American Community

John van Willigen

The social life of older rural Americans is made up of relationships formed through kinship, their neighborhoods, and the organizations to which they belong. These social institutions are shaped by the ways people use them, and therefore change through time. In this precedent-setting study, John van Willigen uses the concept of social network to investigate life-course changes in the relationships of older people within the context of community history.

Gettin' Some Age on Me grew out of a study of more than 130 older people in a rural Kentucky county. They were interviewed concerning their relationships with others, and data were collected on the give and take of support that is part of their social life. An understanding of community life and history, developed through interviews and period documentation, provided a context for understanding the changes these people have experienced over time. Finally, related studies by other researchers provided a framework for interpreting rural and urban differences.

Van Willigen skillfully interweaves these various accounts to reveal fundamentally important patterns. It is clear that these other people should be viewed not as dependent and isolated but as important sources for social support; that even though their social relationships decline in number late in life, early in the post retirement period there is an apparent increase in social involvement; and that older people are much less isolated in the rural community studied than in many urban areas.

This book makes a substantial contribution to the very limited literature on aging in rural America. It is important reading for social gerontologists and for all social scientists with an interest in American communities.

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Global Heartland

Displaced Labor, Transnational Lives, and Local Placemaking

Faranak Miraftab

Global Heartland is the account of diverse, dispossessed, and displaced people brought together in a former sundown town in Illinois. Recruited to work in the local meat-processing plant, African Americans, Mexicans, and West Africans re-create the town in unexpected ways. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in the US, Mexico, and Togo, Faranak Miraftab shows how this workforce is produced for the global labor market; how the displaced workers’ transnational lives help them stay in these jobs; and how they negotiate their relationships with each other across the lines of ethnicity, race, language, and nationality as they make a new home. Beardstown is not an exception but an example of local-global connections that make for local development. Focusing on a locality in a non-metropolitan region, this work contributes to urban scholarship on globalization by offering a fresh perspective on politics and materialities of placemaking.

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Growing Up Hard in Harlan County

G.C. Jones

G.C. "Red" Jones's classic memoir of growing up in rural eastern Kentucky during the Depression is a story of courage, persistence, and eventual triumph. His priceless and detailed recollections of hardscrabble farming, of the impact of Prohibition on an individualistic people, of the community-destroying mine wars of "Bloody Harlan," and of the drastic dislocations brought by World War II are essential to understanding this seminal era in Appalachian history.

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Habits of the Heartland

Small-Town Life in Modern America

by Lyn C. Macgregor

Although most Americans no longer live in small towns, images of small-town life, and particularly of the mutual support and neighborliness to be found in such places, remain powerful in our culture. In Habits of the Heartland, Lyn C. Macgregor investigates how the residents of Viroqua, Wisconsin, population 4,355, create a small-town community together. Macgregor lived in Viroqua for nearly two years. During that time she gathered data in public places, attended meetings, volunteered for civic organizations, talked to residents in their workplaces and homes, and worked as a bartender at the local American Legion post.

Viroqua has all the outward hallmarks of the idealized American town; the kind of place where local merchants still occupy the shops on Main Street and everyone knows everyone else. On closer examination, one finds that the town contains three largely separate social groups: Alternatives, Main Streeters, and Regulars. These categories are not based on race or ethnic origins. Rather, social distinctions in Viroqua are based ultimately on residents' ideas about what a community is and why it matters.

These ideas both reflect and shape their choices as consumers, whether at the grocery store, as parents of school-age children, or in the voting booth. Living with-and listening to-the town's residents taught Macgregor that while traditional ideas about "community," especially as it was connected with living in a small town, still provided an important organizing logic for peoples' lives, there were a variety of ways to understand and create community.

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Harvest of Hope

Family Farming/Farming Families

Lorraine Garkovich, Janet L. Bokemeier, and Barbara Foote

The image of the family farm as storehouse of the traditional values that built this nation -- self-reliance, resourcefulness, civic pride, family strength, concern for neighbors and community, honesty, and friendliness -- persists, as many recent surveys show. But the reality of this rich tradition is rapidly changing, eroding the security once represented by these nostalgic images of rural America.

Although the United States is still by far the world's leading overall producer of agricultural products, the number of American families making their livelihood through farming is much diminished, and if our demographers are correct, the number of family-operated farms is destined to fall still further in the coming decades as consolidation, cycles of boom and bust, and corporate invasions redefine who will farm the land.

Harvest of Hope is a story of farm family life through the words of those who live it. The saga of the generations who have lived and worked on Basin Spring farm in western Kentucky is the thread that binds together the stories of eighty other farm families. They talk about their family businesses, their way of life, and the forces reshaping their lives.

The challenges of making a living in farming either strengthen families or break them. Technology, government programs, and community changes that are supposed to be the hope for their future often come with unexpected drawbacks. The stories in this book -- tales of growing up in farming, working in a multifamily business, juggling jobs on and off the farm, and struggling to maintain financial security and comfortable working relationships -- reveal what American farming families know about hope and survival in a changing world.

The authors offer a multifaceted view of the present situation, as well as suggestions for ways of enhancing the positive elements that have enriched and inspired Americans in the past. It is an analysis that highlights the myths and realities of a business and way of life that has a powerful hold on the American imagination. The reader comes away from this work with a clear idea of the tribulations farming families endure and the delicate balance between the spiritual and other rewards of farm life.

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The Human Cost of Food

Farmworkers' Lives, Labor, and Advocacy

Edited by Charles D. Thompson, Jr., and Melinda F. Wiggins

This book addresses the major factors that affect farmworkers’ lives while offering practical strategies for action on farmworker issues.

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Improving Health Sector Performance

Institutions, Motivations and Incentives - The Cambodia Dialogue

Hossein Jalilian and Vicheth Sen

There is growing international evidence that the effectiveness of health services stems primarily from the extent to which the incentives facing providers and consumers are aligned with "better health" objectives. Efficiency in health service provision requires that providers and consumers have incentives to use healthcare resources in ways that generate the maximum health gains. Equity in at least one sense requires that consumers requiring the same care are treated equally, irrespective of their ability to pay. Efficiency in the use of health services requires that consumers are knowledgeable about the services on offer and which are most appropriate to their needs. Although these principles are enshrined in the design of every health system in the world, they have proven extremely difficult to apply in practice. Healthcare providers have financial obligations to their families as well as professional obligations to their patients. Health service consumers generally lack information about both their health and health services so that they under-consume or over-consume healthcare. The papers in this volume are selected from an international conference organized by the CDRI, Cambodia, that tried to deal with some of these issues. With participation of international and local experts, it aimed at collecting major experiences and innovative solutions from inside and outside the country to improve health sector performance, with particular focus on institutions, motivations and incentives.

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Land and Development in Indonesia

Searching for the People's Sovereignty

Edited by John F. McCarthy and Kathryn Robinson

Indonesia was founded on the ideal of the "Sovereignty of the People", which suggests the pre-eminence of people's rights to access, use and control land to support their livelihoods. Yet, many questions remain unresolved. How can the state ensure access to land for agriculture and housing while also supporting land acquisition for investment in industry and infrastructure? What is to be done about indigenous rights? Do registration and titling provide solutions? Is the land reform agenda — legislated but never implemented — still relevant? How should the land questions affecting Indonesia's disappearing forests be resolved? The contributors to this volume assess progress on these issues through case studies from across the archipelago: from large-scale land acquisitions in Papua, to asset ownership in the villages of Sulawesi and Java, to tenure conflicts associated with the oil palm and mining booms in Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Sumatra. What are the prospects for the "people's sovereignty" in regard to land?

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Latino Heartland

Of Borders and Belonging in the Midwest

Sujey Vega

National immigration debates have thrust both opponents of immigration and immigrant rights supporters into the news. But what happens once the rallies end and the banners come down? What is daily life like for Latinos who have been presented nationally as “terrorists, drug smugglers, alien gangs, and violent criminals”? Latino Heartland offers an ethnography of the Latino and non-Latino residents of a small Indiana town, showing how national debate pitted neighbor against neighbor—and the strategies some used to combat such animosity. It conveys the lived impact of divisive political rhetoric on immigration and how race, gender, class, and ethnicity inform community belonging in the twenty-first century.  
 
Latino Heartland illuminates how community membership was determined yet simultaneously re-made by those struggling to widen the scope of who was imagined as a legitimate resident citizen of this Midwestern space. The volume draws on interviews with Latinos—both new immigrants and long-standing U.S. citizens—and whites, as well as African Americans, to provide a sense of the racial dynamics in play as immigrants asserted their right to belong to the community. Latino Hoosiers asserted a right to redefine what belonging meant within their homes, at their spaces of worship, and in the public eye. Through daily acts of ethnic belonging, Spanish-speaking residents navigated their own sense of community that did not require that they abandon their difference just to be accepted.  
 
In Latino Heartland, Sujey Vega addresses the politics of immigration, showing us how increasingly diverse towns can work toward embracing their complexity.

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Les defis du developpement local au Senegal

This book is an uncompromising analysis of Senegal's decentralisation policy in rural areas. It discusses the state's inability to promote local development, despite this being its main raison d'?tre in a context of poverty. To identify reasons for the shortcomings, the author goes beyond policy statements and explores, sociologically, the compatibility of the behaviour and the cultural context of actors with the pursuance of local development objectives. Yet, there are indeed solutions to the actors' lethargy and to the weak coverage of the initiatives undertaken. The solutions can be found in the methodical and civic mobilisation around more ambitious actions that are more adapted to receptive localities, though opened to modernity and perfectly anchored in the culture for positive results. Rosnert Ludovic Alissoutin holds a PhD in Law. Since 1995, he has been working as a consultant on development issues in Senegal and Africa, particularly local development issues. The particularity of his approach lies in the rejection of scientific exclusivism and recourse to a multi disciplinary, open and flexible analysis of the complexity of human development. It is this perspective that informed his doctoral thesis on La Gestion de l'eau en milieu aride, which discusses legal, anthropological, geographical, and sociological issues. For additional information on his profile and work, visit his website: http://www.ralissoutin.com.

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