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City Places, Country Spaces

Rhetorical Explorations of the Urban/Rural Divide


Edited By Wendy Atkins-Sayre and Ashli Quesinberry Stokes

Regional differences matter. Even in an increasingly globalized world, rhetorical attention to regionalism yields very different understandings of geographic areas and the people who inhabit them. Regional identities often become most apparent in the differences (real and perceived) between urban and rural areas. Politicians recognize the perceived differences and develop messages based on that knowledge. Media highlight and exacerbate the differences to drive ratings. Cultural markers (from memorials to restaurants and memoirs and beyond) point to the differences and even help to construct those divisions. The places identified as urban and rural even visually demarcate the differences at times. This volume explores how rhetoric surrounding the urban and rural binary helps shape our understanding of those regions and the people who reside there. Chapters from award-winning rhetorical scholars explain the implications of viewing the regions as distinct and divided, exploring how they influence our understanding of ourselves and others, politics and race, culture, space and place, and more. Attention to urban and rural spaces is necessary because those spaces both act rhetorically and are also created through rhetoric. In a time when thoughtful attention to regional division has become more critical than ever, this book is required reading to help think through and successfully engage the urban/rural divide.

Wendy Atkins-Sayre (PhD, University of Georgia) is Professor of Rhetoric and Department Chair at the University of Memphis. Her most recent book with Ashli Stokes, Consuming Identity: The Role of Food in Redefining the South, explores the role that food plays in creating Southern identity.

Ashli Quesinberry Stokes (PhD, University of Georgia) is Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the New South at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her award-winning scholarship explores identity, activism, and Southern culture.