Potter Addition: Poverty, Family, and Kinship in a Heartland Community

Front Cover
Transaction Publishers, Jan 1, 1993 - Social Science - 326 pages

With a few notable exceptions, studies of poor, native-born, non-ethnic whites are rare in the sociological literature. This book attempts to correct the oversight by presenting ethnography of an actual small, poor, white, heartland community that the author calls "Potter Addition." The community consists of some 100 families, and is located on the rural-urban fringe of a medium-sized Midwestern city.

"Poverty, Family, and Kinship in a Heartland Community "is the story of three generations of rural families who, one after another, have been driven from the land during the last seventy-five years. Harvey argues (against the grain of a number of recent studies) that "Potter Addition's" poverty, like much of modern poverty, has its origins in the productive contradictions of late capitalism, and thus is not the result of some moral or motivational defect of the poor themselves. At the same time he argues that the families he studies-even as they struggle to survive their uncertain niche and learn how to adapt-play an active role in reproducing the everyday material and cultural details of their poverty from the substance of their daily experiences.

Working from this premise, Harvey's work provides a detailed ethnographic description of "Potter Addition" and its people. The volume focuses especially on the family and kinship structures that have developed in "Potter Addition," and shows the logic and rationality of.such arrangements by revealing how they fit into the-overall response of the poor to their uncertain and unpredictable class situation. This is a unique effort by an outstanding researcher.

 

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Contents

FIRST IMPRESSIONS AND SECOND THOUGHTS
1
PLAN OF THE BOOK
9
THE SOCIAL REPRODUCTION OF POVERTY
11
CONVENTIONAL AND CRITICAL PROBLEMATICS
13
VARIABLE ENVIRONMENTS
20
THE CULTURE OF POVERTY AND VARIABLE ENVIRONMENTS
25
POTTER ADDITION
33
THE ECOLOGICAL SETTING OF COMMUNITY
34
THE STRUCTURE OF THE PERSONAL KINDRED
166
KINSHIP AS IDEOLOGY
170
CENTRIPETAL AND CENTRIFUGAL KINSHIP SYSTEMS
173
CENTRIPETAL AND CENTRIFUGAL KINSHIP IN CLAY COUNTY
175
OPEN AND CLOSED HOUSEHOLDS IN POTTER ADDITION
178
THE MERGING OF HOUSEHOLDS
182
THE IRON CAGE OF RECIPROCITY
185
THE MORAL FOUNDATION OF LOWERCLASS KINSHIP
193

SURPLUS POPULATIONS
36
THE MATERIAL INFRASTRUCTURE OF COMMUNITY
41
THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF POTTER ADDITION
45
THE JUNKYARDS
51
BETTYS MARKET
52
THE QUESTION OF CLASS
55
THE WORLD OF WORK
59
DISORDERLY CAREERS IN POTTER ADDITION
60
THE JACKOFALLTRADES
66
LOWERCLASS WORK VALUES
68
LABOR LEISURE AND IDEOLOGY
73
LEISURE TIME FARMING
75
THE CAR CULT
81
THE SUBJECTIVE REPRODUCTION OF MALE MORALE
89
SAVING AND SPENDING
93
VARIABLE ENVIRONMENTS AND NIGGERRICH LIFESTYLES
99
MINING THE INTERSTICES
100
ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIES
106
THE UXORICENTRIC FAMILY
119
THE PARSONSIAN MODEL
120
THE JURAL DEFAULT OF THE HUSBAND
124
THE HUSBAND AS AFFINE
130
MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS
135
THE ANTINOMIES OF FAMILY LIFE
147
THE DIALECTICS OF UXORICENTRIC FAMILY LIFE
156
THE DIALECTICS OF LOWERCLASS KINSHIP
165
MERGED AND AMALGAMATED IDENTITIES
196
AFFINAL STRUGGLES
201
THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF THE KINDRED SIBLINGBASED DESCENT GROUPS
209
THE STORY OF MARY GRAHAM
210
THE BROTHER AS EXOFFICIO FAMILY MEMBER
218
MINIMALIST KINSHIP
219
UXORICENTRIC DESCENT GROUPS
225
LOWERCLASS KINSHIP AS A WHOLE
233
POTTER ADDITION TODAY
237
THE CORPORATE UNIVERSITY
238
GRAND PRAIRIE
242
CLAY COUNTY AND ITS SMALL TOWNS
245
CLAY COUNTYS FARMERS
247
PERSISTENT POVERTY
249
THE CHANGING FACE OF POVERTY
251
CONTINUITIES IN THE CULTURE OF POVERTY
255
THE EVOLUTION OF POTTER ADDITIONS CULTURE OF POVERTY
259
POTTER ADDITION AND ITS POVERTY
265
ALTERNATIVE PATHS TO POVERTY
268
THE DENIAL OF CLASS
271
THE QUESTION OF PATHOLOGY
277
NOTES
283
REFERENCES
307
AUTHOR INDEX
317
SUBJECT INDEX
321
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