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In North America industrial agriculture has now virtually displaced diversified family farming. The prevailing system depends heavily on labor supplied by migrants and immigrants, and its reliance on monoculture raises environmental concerns. In this book Jane Adams and contributors--anthropologists and political scientists among them--analyze the political dynamics that have transformed agriculture in the United States and Canada since the 1920s. The contributors demonstrate that people become politically active in arenas that range from the state to public discourse to relations between growers and their contractors or laborers, and that politics is a process that is intimately local as well as global.The farm financial crisis of the 1980s precipitated rapid consolidation of farms and a sharp decline in rural populations. It brought new actors into the political process, including organic farmers and environmentalists. Fighting for the Farm: Rural America Transformed considers the politics of farm policy and the consequences of the increasing alignment of agricultural interests with the global economy. The first section of the book places North American agriculture in the context of the world system; the second, a series of case studies, examines the foundations of current U.S. policy; subsequent sections deal with the political implications for daily life and the politics of the environment.Recognizing the influence of an array of political constituencies and arenas, Fighting for the Farm charts a decisive shift since the early part of the twentieth century from a discursive regime rooted in economics to one that now incorporates a variety of environmental and quality-of-life concerns.
Jane Adams focuses on the transformation of rural life in Union County, Illinois, as she explores the ways in which American farming has been experienced and understood in the twentieth century. Reconstructing the histories of seven farms, she places the details of daily life within the context of political and economic change. Adams identifies contradictions that, on a personal level, influenced relations between children and parents, men and women, and bosses and laborers, and that, more generally, changed structures of power within the larger rural community. In this historical ethnography, Adams traces two contradictory narratives: one stresses plenitude--rich networks of neighbors and kin, the ability to supply families from the farm, the generosity shown to those in need--while the other stresses the acute hardships and oppressive class, gender, and age inequities that characterized farm life. The New Deal and World War II disrupted both patterns, as the increased capital necessary for successful farming forced many to move from agriculture to higher-paid nonfarm work. This shift also changed the structure of the farm household, as homes modernized and women found work off the farm. Adams concludes that large-scale bureaucracies leveled existing class distinctions and that community networks eroded as farmers came to realize an improved standard of living.
How do today's parents cope when the dreams we had for our children clash with reality? What can we do for our twenty- and even thirty-somethings who can't seem to grow up? How can we help our depressed, dependent, or addicted adult children, the ones who can't get their lives started, who are just marking time or even doing it? What's the right strategy when our smart, capable "adultolescents" won't leave home or come boomeranging back? Who can we turn to when the kids aren't all right and we, their parents, are frightened, frustrated, resentful, embarrassed, and especially, disappointed?In this groundbreaking book, a social psychologist who's been chronicling the lives of American families for over two decades confronts our deepest concerns, including our silence and self-imposed sense of isolation, when our grown kids have failed to thrive. She listens to a generation that "did everything right" and expected its children to grow into happy, healthy, successful adults. But they haven't, at least, not yet -- and meanwhile, we're letting their problems threaten our health, marriages, security, freedom, careers or retirement, and other family relationships. With warmth, empathy, and perspective, Dr. Adams offers a positive, life-affirming message to parents who are still trying to "fix" their adult children -- Stop! She shows us how to separate from their problems without separating from them, and how to be a positive force in their lives while getting on with our own. As we navigate this critical passage in our second adulthood and their first, the bestselling author ofI'm Still Your Motherreminds us that the pleasures and possibilities of postparenthood should not depend on how our kids turn out, but on how we do!
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