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March 26 , 2010

Farmers' Rural Community Attachment: A Structural Symbolic Interactionist Explanation


This research reconceptualizes or elaborates on, or even modifies, the systemic approach of community attachment by looking at its concepts from a structural symbolic interactionist approach.The systemic model conceptualizes community attachment as three forms of community solidarity – strong interpersonal relations among community residents, strong sentiments about the community, and involvement in community affairs.The structural symbolic interactionist approach assumes that farmers' role choices – involvement in community affairs – depends on their resident-identities.The nature of their resident-identities is dependent on how large their social networks are and on the character of those relations.For instance, if their resident-identities were limited to family concerns, their resident-identities usually reflected this.Indeed, four types of resident-identities were identified – family-orientation, local orientation, cosmopolitan orientation, and waning interest/disinterested.The structural symbolic interactionist model was tested on a sample of farmers and their spouses residing in five South Dakota counties.Data were derived from two questionnaires and personal interviews. Hypothesis testing found qualified support for the structural symbolic interactionist model.There was strong association between type of resident-identity (local orientation) and community involvement.As well, family-work conflict, sex, and employee identity were good predictors of the type of resident-identity.The extent of interpersonal relations and farmer identity were only weakly associated with resident-identity and community involvement.
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