Creating the Countryside

The Politics of Rural and Environmental Discourse

Edited by E. Melanie DuPuis and Peter Vandergeest
Book Cover

PB: $50.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-360-7
Publication: Jan 96

Ebook: $50.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0145-8

360 pages
6 x 9
7 tables, 3 figs., 6 halftones, 4 maps

People active in regional environmental crises discuss the destruction, conservation, and creation of the countryside

Read the Introduction (pdf).


What does it mean to save nature and rural life? Do people know what they are trying to save and what they mean by "save"? As the answers to these questions become more and more unclear, so, too do the concepts of "environment," "wilderness," and "country."

From the abuse of the Amazon rain forest to how Vermont has been marketed as the ideal rural place, this collection looks at what the countryside is, should be, or can be from the perspective of people who are actively involved in such debates. Each contributor examines the underlying tendencies—and subsequent policies—that separate country from city, developed land from wilderness, and human activity from natural processes. The editors argue in their introduction that these dualistic categories limit our ability to think about environmental and rural problems and hamper our ability to formulate practical, realistic, and just solutions.

This book's interpretive approach to the natural world explores why people make artificial distinctions between nature and culture, and how people can create new forms of sustainable development in terms of real problems and real places.


"The most pervasive theme of this book may be the need to question both conventional wisdom and attractive concepts like Wilderness... in this strong, convincing book. " —Contemporary Sociology

Table of Contents

List of Tables, Figures, and Illustrations Acknowledgments 1. Introduction – Peter Vandergeest and E. Melanie DuPuis

Part I: Modernization and Marginalization 2. Stone Age New England: A Geology of Morals – Michael M. Bell 3. The Farm as Firm: Rhetoric and the Remanufacturing of Basque Agrarian Production – Peter Leigh Taylor

Part II: People In and Out of Nature 4. In the Name of Nature: Ecology, Marginality, and Rural Land Use Planning during the New Deal – E. Melanie DuPuis 5. "Reserving" Value: Conservation Ideology and State Protection of Resources – Nancy Lee Peluso 6. Native Amazonians and the Making of the Amazon Wilderness: From Discourse of Riches and Sloth to Underdevelopment – Bill Fisher 7. Reverence Is Not Enough: Ecological Marxism and Indian Adivasis – Amita Baviskar 8. Caribbean Environmentalism: An Ambiguous Discourse – Barbara Deutsch Lynch

Part III: Constructing Rurality 9. Consuming Images: Making and Marketing Vermont as Distinctive Rural Place – C. Clare Hinrichs 10. Real Villages: National Narratives of Development – Peter Vandergeest Gendered Memory: Reconstructions of a Rural Place of Origin by Mexican Transnational Migrants – Luin P. Goldring 11. Gendered Memory: Constructions of Rurality Among Mexican Transnational Migrants – Luin Goldring

About the Contributors Index

About the Author(s)

E. Melanie DuPuis is Economic Development Policy Analyst covering environmental policy at the New York State Department of Economic Development.

Peter Vandergeest is Senior Fellow on the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, and Assistant Professor of Pacific and Asian Studies at the University of Victoria.


In the Series

  • Conflicts in Urban and Regional Development edited by John R. Logan and Todd Swanstrom

    Conflicts in Urban and Regional Development, edited by John R. Logan and Todd Swanstrom, includes books on urban policy and issues of city and regional planning, accounts of the political economy of individual cities, and books that compare policies across cities and countries.