Locality and Inequality

Farm and Industry Structure and Socioeconomic Conditions

By Linda M. Lobao

Subjects: Rural Sociology
Series: SUNY series, The New Inequalities
Paperback : 9780791404768, 291 pages, October 1990
Hardcover : 9780791404751, 291 pages, October 1990

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Table of contents

List of Tables

List of Figures


1. Introduction and Overview

2. The Uneven Development of Farm and Industrial Structure

3. Farm Structure and Socioeconomic Inequality

4. Industry Structure, Worker Power, Spatial Characteristics, and Socioeconomic Inequality

5. The Design of the Study: Data, Measurement of Variables, and Methods of Analysis

6. Local Inequality: National Patterns

7. Local Inequality: Regional Comparisons

8. Farming and the Nonfarm Sector: Industry and Other Local Linkages

9. Conclusions






This book explores how the recent restructuring of farming and industry has affected economic and social equality in the United States. The author explains how the farm sector has undergone a dramatic restructuring with profound effects. Moderate-size family farms, the mainstay of American agriculture, have declined during the postwar period and are now under severe financial stress. Large-scale industrialized farms — "the factories in the field," often run by corporations — continue to expand their share of agricultural sales while small farms operated on a part-time basis appear to be replacing traditional family farming.

Lobao shows that public concern about farm restructuring is indeed warranted and that the nation now appears to be losing its most beneficial farms as well as industries. While local and regional social and economic forces and state policy can be brought to bear on these trends, Lobao particulary focuses on how community empowerment and broad-based political coalitions offer the most promise for fundamental change.

Linda M. Lobao is Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology at The Ohio State University.


"The work is quite readable and extremely useful for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals. " — A. Gary Dworkin, University of Houston

"I suspect that this will be read favorably by many political scientists concerned with locality and policy. Lobao does a nice job of relating the research to policy recommendations. " — William W. Falk, University of Maryland at College Park