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Forgotten Places

Critical Studies in Rural Education

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Edited By William M. Reynolds

Forgotten Places: Critical Studies in Rural Education critically investigates and informs the construction of the rural, rural identity and the understanding of the rural internationally. This book promotes and expands the notion of critical understandings of rural education, particularly in the areas of race, class, gender, and LGBTQ, with conceptualizations of social justice. While there have been many volumes written on critical issues in urban education, only a small number have been produced on rural education, and the majority of those are not critical. By contrast, Forgotten Places not only discusses "schools in the country," but also expands conceptualizations of the rural beyond schools and place as well as beyond the borders of the United States. It also tackles the artificial duality between conceptualizations of urban and rural. Forgotten Places includes scholarly investigations into the connections among the symbolic order, various forms of cultural artifacts and multiple readings of these artifacts within the context of critical/transformational pedagogy. This book fills a significant gap in the scholarly work on the ramifications of the rural.

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Chapter Four: Fat Guys in the Woods Naked and Afraid: Rural Reality Television as Prep-School for a Post-Apocalyptic World (Jennifer A. Beech / Matthew Guy)

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CHAPTER FOUR

Fat Guys IN THE Woods Naked AND Afraid

Rural Reality Television as Prep-School for a Post-Apocalyptic World

JENNIFER A. BEECH AND MATTHEW GUY



As cultural theorist and critical pedagogue bell hooks argues in Cultural Criticism and Transformation, pop culture is “the primary pedagogical medium for the masses of people globally who want to, in some way, understand the politics of difference” (1997). Following from hooks, we argue that no examination of rural education would be as efficacious, then, without an examination of how the rural is figured in the popular medium of t.v. in general and reality survival shows in particular. We examine how the current cultural obsession with the post apocalypse—whether Biblical or germ warfare (think Walking Dead)—is driving middle-class, urban folks to desire what they consider to be rural, working-class knowledge. Two reality shows—Naked and Afraid and Fat Guys in the Woods—are of particular interest for the ways in which they operate on several pedagogical levels to “teach” or create a desire for rural, working-class survival skills. Further, using Julia Kristeva’s notion of “the abject,” or those repressed elements of our nature that must stay hidden so that our subjectivity/civilization does not fail, we assert that the prepper mindset and the consumer industry fostered by this obsession with the apocalypse, appeal to an “abject” fear of the apocalypse, evoking a crisis in identity by turning the following false binaries...

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