Welcoming Wind Turbines and the PIMBY ("Please in My Backyard") Phenomenon: The Culture of the Machine in the Rural American Midwest
Abstract

abstract:

This article argues that the welcoming of wind turbines in midwestern farming communities, the so-called PIMBY ("Please in My Backyard") phenomenon, constitutes only the most recent expression of a historical process of farmers forming an ultramodern identity, one that still goes largely unappreciated by relatively backward city residents. We conclude that farmers undertook a two-step process to develop a modern identity that incorporated rural values. In the first step, beginning early in the twentieth century, agrarians employed a discourse of rural capitalistic modernity to combat urban yokel stereotypes within the context of a broader rural-urban conflict. This rural capitalistic modernity strengthened during the cold war until it transformed, in the second step, into the current ultramodern discourse. Wind turbines, in addition to providing economic benefits, function ontologically to maintain an identity of rural citizens as savvy producers and users of technology, and to deflect stereotypes imposed by their urban cousins.