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July 31 , 2007

Prairie Town

Redefining Rural Life in the Age of Globalization


Prairie Town: Redefining Rural Life in the Age of Globalization describes the contemporary rural condition and efforts to sustain rural life in one small Minnesota community at the turn of the 21st century. Like many other agricultural based towns, Prairie Town struggled for survival within the context of the on-going farm crisis, NAFTA, neoliberal agricultural policies, and growing agribusiness that negatively impacted many farmers throughout the world. The effects of globalization, the displacement of rural workers to urban areas, and the deterioration of rural life were a widespread phenomenon. In spite of these complex issues, Prairie Town worked to define a new rural— life, one which entailed a new rural literacy—a new way of reading rural life-that changed the way rural life, work, and education were realized. Prairie Town's story offers us hope as we learn that neoliberalism is not inevitable, nor is the demise of rural America. From this community, we learn that not everything can be bought and sold, and disidentification with dominant societal structures is possible within a participatory democratic society. New cultural models can be constructed that enable individuals in Prairie Town and elsewhere to actively work to construct ways of being that are consistent with their values and hopes for how they might live together.
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