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The world has been witnessing a long unfolding process of urbanization that not only has altered the structural basis of society in terms of political economy, but has also symbolically relegated rural people and life to a secondary or deviant status through an ideology of urbanormativity. Both structural and cultural changes rooted in urbanization are connected in complex ways to spatial arrangements that can be described in terms of inequality and uneven development. Through a focus on localities, Studies in Urbanormativity: Rural Community in Urban Society examines the implications of urbanization and its corresponding ideology. Urbanormativity justifies rural domination by holding urban life as the standard against which rural forms are compared and deemed to be irregular, inferior, or deviant. Urban production, as conceptualized in this book, is inherently exploitative of rural resources—natural, social, cultural, and symbolic. As this exploitation advances, a wake of entropic conditions is left behind in the forms of degraded landscapes, broken social institutions, and denigrated communities, cultures and identities.
Edited by Gregory M. Fulkerson and Alexander R. Thomas, Studies in Urbanormativity engages a topic on which scholars have been surprisingly silent. Designed for advancing theory and practice, the chapters provide new theoretical tools for understanding the complex relationship between the urban and rural. While primarily intended for scholars and practitioners interested in rural life, rural policy, and community development, the insights of this book will also be of interest to scholars studying various forms of cultural and social domination, as well as identity politics.
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Gregory M. Fulkerson is assistant professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Oneonta.
Alexander R. Thomas is associate professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Oneonta.
The chapters [in this book] are interesting, insightful, and thought provoking. (Journal of Sociology)
Studies in Urbanormativity is a wide-ranging collection that moves beyond the boundaries of traditional rural sociology in significant, productive, and critical ways. It is an important book that comes at a crucial time. As the world becomes more urban than rural and as the economic and cultural import of rural people and places is seen as waning, these authors reveal the phenomenon of urbanormativity as a key step to challenging its inevitability. (Lisa R. Pruitt, University of California, Davis)
Studies in Urbanormativity is an essential and exciting contribution to the field of rural studies. Fulkerson and Thomas have masterfully assembled a volume that not only marshals provocative argumentation regarding the importance and relevance of rurality in an increasingly urban world, but more importantly the ways in which 'the rural' has been naturalized as a spatial, as well as social, political and cultural periphery. The chapters within this book use a variety of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives to unpack and challenge prevailing social imaginations, while appealing not only to rural scholars but more broadly to those with interests in urban studies, identity and cultural politics, community theory and critical geography.
(Kai A. Schafft, Pennsylvannia State University)
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