Understanding Rural Social Class in an Era of Global Challenge

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Social class is a foundational sociological concept that cuts across all domains of interest within rural sociology. Structured inequity rooted in social class and its intersectionalities also was the spark that drew many rural sociologists into the discipline. This article first considers definitions of social class and provides a rationale for its being the theme for the 2016 meetings of the Rural Sociological Society in Toronto, ON. It provides a brief sketch of social class in the rural and urban United States through an analysis of data from the General Social Survey. This leads into a discussion of four dimensions of social class that rural sociologists have helped to inform and on which more research is needed. These include class as a relational concept, class and economic livelihoods, expressions of class as signifiers of success, and the consequences of class stratification. Along the way, a sampling of RSS members are given voice as they describe in their own words the spark that ignited their pursuit of our discipline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-243
Number of pages17
JournalRural Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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