Pace And Rhythm Of Rural Life
One constant of rural regions and one continuing attraction for urban-to-rural migrant families is the slower pace and the rural rhythm of life. Rural families have traditionally lived at a slower pace than that of urbanites. Centers of life continue to be the village marketplace (whether that is a farmer's market, an African marketplace bazaar, a flea market, or a town square); the town café or eating place; and the sports arena (Friday night football in the United States, sandlot soccer in Mexico, or the frozen pond in Canada and the northern rural United States). Rural families continue to live closer to the land, to nature, and to the changing seasons. The rhythm of rural life has a slower beat, and involves different sensations: aromas, textures (newmown hay), and sounds. Rural families are more likely to pause and listen to the sounds of dogs barking, roosters crowing, nightingales or parrots or owl sounds.
Whether rural families retain more quality time to spend together is up for debate. Certainly Nintendo and Saturday morning cartoons courtesy of satellite dishes have reached even the remotest rural areas. But family farming activities and family outdoor activities (family hog and calf raising as 4-H and Future Farmers of America [FFA] activities, for example) continue to be cherished activities among rural families.
In summary, the definitions of rural families have been evolving over many generations. A global perspective on families who live in rural areas must consider the wide diversity that is found from region to region and nation to nation. Issues of poverty, gender, and social justice for rural populations are issues that must not be overlooked when examining international rural families. Resilience—an incredible ability to survive against odds—continues to be the constant and defining feature among rural families.
Becker, G. S. (1981). A Treatise in the Family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Bokemeier, J. L. (1997). "Rediscovering Farms and Households: Restructuring Rural Society and Rural Sociology." Rural Sociology 62:1–20.
Farley, O. W.; Griffiths, K. A.; Skidmore, R. A.; and Thackeray, M. G. (1982). Rural Social Work Practice. New York: Free Press.
Fitchen, J. M. (1998). "Rural Poverty and Rural Social Work." In Social Work in Rural Communities, 3rd edition, ed. L. Ginsberg. Washington, DC: Council of Social Work Education.
Fortmann, L.; Antinori, C.; and Nabane, N. (1997). "Fruits of Their Labors: Gender, Property Rights, and Tree Planting in Two Zimbabwe Villages." Rural Sociology 62:295–314.
Fulton, J. A.; Fuguitt, G. V.; and Gibson, R. M. (1997). "Recent Changes in Metropolitan–Non-Metropolitan Migration Streams." Rural Sociology 62:363–384.
Ginsberg, L. H. (1998). Social Work in Rural Communities, 3rd edition. Washington, DC: Council of Social Work Education.
Gottfried, A., and Gottfried, A. W. (1994). Redefining Families: Implications for Children's Development. New York: Plenum Press.
Gumbrium, J., and Holstein, J. (1995). "Deprivation and the Construction of Domestic Life." Journal of Marriage and Family 57:894–908.
Haney, W. G., and Knowles, J. B. (1988). Women and Farming: Changing Roles, Changing Structures. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Horton, H. D., and Allen, B. L. (1998). "Race, Family Structure and Rural Poverty: An Assessment of Population and Structural Change." Journal of Comparative Family Studies 29:397–406
Jackson-Smith, D. B. (1999). "Understanding the Microdynamics of Farm Structural Change: Entry, Exit, and Restructuring among Farm Families in the 1980s." Rural Sociology 64:66–91.
Khan, M. H. (2000). "Rural Poverty in Developing Countries." Finance & Development 37:26–29.
Lasch, C. (1977). Haven in a Heartless World: The Family Besieged. New York: Basic Books.
Lichter, D. T., and Eggebeen, D. (1992). "Child Poverty and the Changing Rural Family." Rural Sociology 57:151–172.
Lipton, M., and Ravallion, M. (1995). "Poverty and Policy." In Handbook of Development Economics, Vol. 3B, ed. J. Behrman and T. Srinivasan. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
MacNair, R. H. (1999). "The Family in the Community." In Working with Families; An Integrative Model by Level of Need, 2nd edition., ed. A. C. Kilpatrick and T. P. Holland. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
"Poverty and Well-Being in Rural America." (1999). Family Economics and Nutrition Review 12:93–95.
Rock, C. (1996). "Training Needs of Canadian Farm Women." Women and Environments 38:11–12.
Speth, J. O. (1997). "Tend to Those Who Tend the Future." Choices 6:19.
Stacey, J. (1991). "Backward toward the Postmodern Family: Reflections on Gender, Kinship and Class in the Silicon Valley." In America at Century's End, ed. A. Wolfe. Berkeley: University of California Press.
U. S. Bureau of the Census. (1990). "Household and Family Characteristics: March 1990 and 1989." Current Population Reports, Series P-20, No. 447. Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office.
Wolfe-Keddie, J. (1996). "Farm and Rural Business Women in Canada." Women and Environments 38:3–35.
Wright, M. M. (1995). "I Never Did Any Fieldwork, But I Milked an Awful Lot of Cows!: Using Rural Women's Experience to Reconceptualize Models of Work." Gender and Society 9:216–235.
U.S. Bureau of the Census. (2002). "United States Census 2000." Available at http://www.census.gov/main/www/cen2000.html.
LINDA B. MORALES