Friday, August 17, 2018

What does rural culture mean?

Howard Sacks
Howard Sacks is a former Kenyon College sociology professor and former director of its Rural Life Center. His family has operated a farm in central Ohio for decades, and though Gambier in Knox County still has plenty of rural character, city folk have been attracted to the housing development down the road. "The new influx of residents to this rural community like the idea of living in the country, but don’t care much of the scents of farm life, or the sounds of machinery during harvest time, that are a practical part of living in the country," Sacks writes for WXVU-FM in Cincinnati.

Locals, alarmed about all the new residents, held a public discussion about how to preserve the town's rural character. But what does rural character mean?

Sacks answers, "For most Americans, 'rural' means little more than the absence of what we associate with urban life, from cultural amenities to social diversity. The federal government defines rural simply as low population density. But, these definitions fail to capture the distinctive elements that constitutes a rural way of life. In simple terms, rural character means seeing the night sky, working the land, knowing your neighbors, and valuing community. We’ve lost much of this in modern society, at a great cost to our individual and collective well-being." Read more here.

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