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Rural America in a Globalizing World

Edited by Conner Bailey, 
Leif Jensen, and
Elizabeth Ransom

August 2014
PB 978-1-940425-10-8
ePub 978-1-940425-12-2
PDF 978-1-949425-11-5



This fourth Rural Sociological Society decennial volume provides advanced policy scholarship on rural North America during the 2010’s, closely reflecting upon the increasingly global nature of social, cultural, and economic forces and the impact of neoliberal ideology upon policy, politics, and power in rural areas.

The chapters in this volume represent the expertise of an influential group of scholars in rural sociology and related social sciences. Its five sections address the changing structure of North American agriculture, natural resources and the environment, demographics, diversity, and quality of life in rural communities.



Rural America in a Globalizing World:  Introduction and Overview

Conner Bailey, Leif Jensen & Elizabeth Ransom

Part I Changing Structure of Agriculture

Agriculture and Food in the 2010s, Alessandro Bonanno

1. Economic Concentration in the Agrifood System: Impacts on Rural Communities and Emerging Responses

Douglas H. Constance, Mary Hendrickson, Philip H. Howard, William D. Heffernan

2. The Declining Middle of American Agriculture: A Spatial Phenomenon

Amy Guptill and Rick Welsh

3. Land Ownership in American Agriculture

Douglas Jackson-Smith and Peggy Petrzelka

4. Mexican-born Farmworkers in U.S. Agriculture

Eric B. Jensen

5. Agricultural Technologies and the Structure of the North American Agrifood System

Leland L. Glenna and Christopher R. Henke

6. Food Safety and Governance of the Agrifood System

Michelle R. Worosz and Diana Stewart

7. Changing Animal Agriculture and the Issue of Farm Animal Welfare

Jeff Sharp and Dani Deemer

8. Agrifood Movements: Diversity, Aims, and Limits

Clare Hinrichs and John Eshleman

Part II Natural Resources and the Environment

Connections: The Next Decade of Rural Sociological Research on Natural Resources and the Environment, Louise Fortmann, Merrill Baker-Médard and Alice Kelly

9. Impacts of Climate Change on People and Communities of Rural America

Lois Wright Morton and Tom Rudel

10. Contemporary Water Issues in Rural North America

Courtney G. Flint and Naomi Krogman

11. Resource Dependency in Rural America: Continuities and Change

Richard S. Krannich, Brian Gentry, A.E. Luloff, and Peter G. Robinson

12. The Gulf: America’s Third Coast

Robert Gramling and Shirley Laska

13. Biofuels and Rural Communities: Promises, Pitfalls and Uneven Social and Environmental Impacts

Theresa Selfa and Carmen Bain

14. New Natural Gas Development and Rural Communities: Key Issues and Research Priorities

Abby Kinchy, Simona Perry, Danielle Rhubart, Richard Stedman, Kathryn Brasier, and Jeffrey Jacquet

15. Got Coal? The High Cost of Coal on Mining-Dependent Communities in Appalachia and the West

Suzanne E. Tallichet

Part III Population Change in Rural North America

Rural Population Change in Social Context, David L. Brown

16. Demographic Trends in Nonmetropolitan America: 2000 to 2010

Kenneth M. Johnson

17. Population Shifts Across U.S. Nonmetropolitan Regions

John Cromartie and Timothy S. Parker

18. Rural Families and Households and the Decline of Traditional Structure

Jessica A. Carson and Marybeth J. Mattingly

19. Children and Youth in Rural America

Diane K. McLaughlin and Carla Shoff

20. Concentrations of the Elderly in Rural America: Patterns, Processes and Outcomes in a Neoliberal World

Peter B. Nelson

21. New Rural Immigrant Destinations: Research for the 2010s

Martha Crowley and Kim Ebert

Part IV Diversity in Rural America

Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Sexuality in Rural America, Carolyn Sachs

22. The Status of African Americans in the Rural United States

John J. Green

23. Hispanic Immigration, Global Competition, and the Dairy Industry in Rural Communities

J.D. Wulfhorst, Priscilla Salant, Leigh A. Bernacchi, Stephanie L. Kane, Philip Watson, and Erinn Cruz

24. Native Nations in a Changing Global Economy

Sarah Dewees

25. The Past is the Present: Gender and the Status of Rural Women

Cynthia B. Struthers

26. Rolling in the Hay: The Rural as Sexual Space

Julie C. Keller and Michael M. Bell

27. Rural Poverty: The Great Recession, Rising Unemployment, and the Underutilized Safety Net

Jennifer Sherman

Part V Rural Economies, Community, and Quality of Life

Economic Change, Structural Forces and Rural America: Shifting Fortunes across Communities, Linda Lobao

28. Education and Schooling in Rural America

Kai A. Schafft and Catharine Biddle

29. Work in Rural America in the Era of Globalization

Tim Slack

30. Rural Entrepreneurship

Lori A. Dickes and Kenneth L. Robinson

31. Community Organization and Mobilization in Rural America

Cornelia Butler Flora and Jan L. Flora

32. Community as Moral Proximity: Theorizing Community in a Global Economy

Todd L. Goodsell, Jeremy Flaherty, and Ralph B. Brown

33. Food Insecurity and Obesity in Rural America: Paradoxes of the Modern Agrifood System

Keiko Tanaka, Patrick H. Mooney and Brett Wolff

34. Thinking About Rural Health

E. Helen Berry

35. Housing in Rural America

Katherine MacTavish, Ann Ziebarth, and Lance George


Conner Bailey is Professor of Rural Sociology at Auburn University. He is a past President of the Rural Sociological Society. His primary research interests are in natural resources and the environment as well as questions of poverty and power in the southeastern United States.

Leif Jensen is Distinguished Professor of Rural Sociology and Demography at Pennsylvania State University. His primary interests are in rural sociology, social stratification, demography, and international development.

Elizabeth Ransom is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Richmond. Her primary research interests are in international development, global agriculture and food systems with an emphasis on Southern Africa, and science and technology studies especially in relation to agriculture and food. 


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