Zach's Reviews > Rural Radicals: Righteous Rage In The American Grain

Rural Radicals by Catherine McNicol Stock
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's review
Apr 30, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: race, the-left, the-right, religion
Read from April 14 to 26, 2012

“To write this sort of book, I had to decide first what I meant by the term ‘radical.’ Obviously, I did not choose to limit my definition of radical to those who took action on the left, who advocated the rights of the working-class or poor, or who joined socialist or communist causes. Some rural people have done all those things. But only a tiny fraction of white farmers have ever wanted to forsake their dream (however unattainable) of independent production and land ownership. Moreover, for years, white farmers have been chronically ambivalent about linking their problems to those of wage workers. These aspirations and ambivalences identify most (though not all) rural whites as petit bourgeois rather than peasant or working-class. But just because white farmers were petit bourgeois did not mean that they could not be radical. Members of the rural ‘old middle class’ have been radical because they have defied the trajectory of ‘bigness’ in emerging liberal, industrial, and postindustrial capitalism. Most have agreed with the basic tenets of capitalist production, but they have disagreed with one another, within families and communities, and over time, about how best to negotiate a small but important place for themselves within it. Finally, I also think that militant conservatives can act radically. Their radicalism stems from both their willingness to use violence and their willingness to defy state and federal authorities to carry out their acts of hatred.”

Can anybody tell me what's wrong with this paragraph?

Or how about this:

“Five contexts of rural life help to explain the nature of rural radicalism and, in particular, its contradictory position in conventional American politics. These are: frontier life, class, race, gender, and evangelism... Only in the countryside, however, do all five factors appear together, reflecting, reinforcing, and transforming one another over time.”
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Zack (new)

Zack ...sounds like the author picked a title she liked and then tried to make her research fit?

message 2: by Zach (new) - rated it 1 star

Zach I think you might be on to something.

I should note that this "definition" of radicalism is tucked away in the errata at the end of the book.

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