Consumers in the Country
Technology and Social Change in Rural America
From 1900 to 1960, the introduction and development of four so-called urbanizing technologies–the telephone, automobile, radio, and electric light and power–transformed the rural United States. But did these new technologies revolutionize rural life in the ways modernizers predicted? And how exactly–and with what levels of resistance and acceptance–did this change take place? In Consumers in the Country Ronald R. Kline, avoiding the trap of technological determinism, explores the changing relationships among the Country Life professionals, government agencies, sales people, and others who promoted these technologies and the farm families who largely succeeded in adapting them to rural culture.
About the Author
Ronald R. Kline is a professor of history of technology at Cornell University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Science and Technology Studies and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
"Kline's work is strong in a number of areas... The study is a well written and well researched compilation... and should be standard reading for those interested in the transformation of rural America in the twentieth century."
"Kline fills a real gap in our understanding of the ways rural Americans incorporated technology into their daily lives."
"His social historical-technological approach makes any historical study of technology ultimately much more valuable."
"Kline's work is a welcome addition to this body of scholarship."
"Consumers in the Country provides an important and very welcome venture into both the history of consumption patterns—an underdeveloped subject in our field—and nonurban people."
"Careful, meticulously researched, and well written."
"This extremely thorough presentation presents a clear picture of how industries changed, and were changed by, farm families."
"Consumers in the Country makes important contributions to scholarship in the history and theory of technology and the social history of rural life."
"Well-researched, entertaining, and generally convincing."
"Kline does a fine job in describing the ways in which rural people made new technologies part of their lives, noting regional, class, and gender implications. His writing is clear, thoughtful, intelligent, and often highly amusing."
"Kline's presentation of farmers as historical actors who controlled acceptance of technology on their own terms is valuable and should inform future studies of agricultural communities."
"A welcome addition."
"Kline displays a confident grasp of technology. He really understands how things work and he has the ability to explain this to readers. This is a rare and valuable quality. He also has an exemplary understanding of the social dimension of technology, throwing new light on the relationship between farm people and modernizers."
Other Titles by Ronald R. Kline
Other Titles from Revisiting Rural America
Other Titles in HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
Other Titles in History of the Americas