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Forgotten Places

Critical Studies in Rural Education


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 Eight: The Liberatory Potential and Constraint of Working-Class Rural Women’s Gender Roles within the United States (Faith Agostinone-Wilson)


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The Liberatory Potential AND Constraint OF Working-Class Rural Women’s Gender Roles WITHIN THE United States


Working-class rural women in the United States represent a compelling intersection of economics, race, gender, and social geography. Location alone is a powerful mediating factor, shaping identity and experience. The life of a working-class rural woman in Vermont is going to be vastly different than one in Nevada in terms of landscape, politics, and culture. Economic changes also impact rural women’s identities as farms and factories close and Wal-Mart becomes the primary employer of a region. Diversity is also becoming the norm in rural communities, with majority older and white populations passing away, replaced by younger, more diverse families. Therefore, the image of the unchanging rural landscape and the women who occupy it is more nostalgia than fact.

Socialist/Marxian feminist theory provides a useful way to examine issues of identity surrounding working-class rural women. Socialist feminism “holds that women’s consciousness, or standpoint, emerges from the social context of their lives, specifically from the sexual division of labor and from women’s subordination to men” (Sachs, 1996, p. 14). Vogel (2013) asserts that a useful dialectical materialist feminism has to have five key elements. First, it has to express a clear dedication to women’s liberation and genuine equality (not just equality of opportunity) for all people. Second, it has to be capable of providing a coherent analysis of what is...

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