Gender, Mutuality, and Community in Retrospect
This book concludes by focusing on the issues of gender, mutuality, and community that surfaced in the Nanticoke Valley from the onset of the Great Depression through World War II. It examines how people in the countryside coped with the Great Depression through cooperation, sharing work and tools in the annual round of farm labor, and relying on mutual aid to ensure that most families had the bare necessities. It shows that longtime residents who had kept their farms while sending family members to work in the city devoted more of their efforts to subsistence production and small-scale, market-oriented agriculture. It also discusses postwar economic transformations in the Nanticoke Valley, with particular emphasis on the demise of neighborhood work-sharing and how it undermined the organizations and institutions that had sustained farm families. Finally, it considers how rural women's participation in organizing political-economic movements helped sustain family farms.
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