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Next-Year Country

Next-Year Country: A Study of Rural Social Organization in Alberta

Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1951
Pages: 188
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  • Book Info
    Next-Year Country
    Book Description:

    In this study of the problems of social organization in a rural community of Alberta, a drought-afflicted wheat-growing area centring round the town of Hanna is described as it appeared to the sociologist in 1946.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3272-1
    Subjects: History, Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. v-viii)
    S.D. Clark

    This is the third of a series sponsored by the Canadian Social Science Research Council through a special grant from the Rockefeller Foundation relating to the background and development of the Social Credit movement in Alberta. It focuses attention upon the community basis of the movement. The Hanna area was chosen for study not with the idea that this area was typical of the Alberta rural community but rather with the idea that it revealed more clearly than other areas not so severely hit by the drought of the 1930’s the kind of disturbances within the Alberta social structure which...

  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. CHAPTER ONE The Dry-Belt Economy
    (pp. 3-15)

    The rural community of the Hanna area has failed to adjust to the physical environment and to the world economic situation. This is the most obvious and the most pressing fact about its organization. The Plains Indians and the few cattlemen who preceded the agricultural settlers made a long-run adjustment to natural conditions, although their supplanting can be interpreted as failure to adjust equally well to the world economy.¹ The wheat farmers have as yet adapted themselves to neither. Their income has fluctuated widely and has shown a downward trend, except for the recent war and postwar years. Responses to...

  7. CHAPTER TWO The Rural Household
    (pp. 16-33)

    For the Hanna family or household group the economic situation presents serious problems. The large size of the farms, the high degree of specialization and of mechanization, leasehold tenure, unpredictable fluctuations in yield and income, all affect adversely the standard of living and the social organization of the household. They thrust upon the household many social and economic tasks and at the same time impair its ability to perform them. Hence it cannot offer to its members a satisfactory way of life.

    To provide for their members a consistently high standard of living is the aim of most families or...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Ethnic Division
    (pp. 34-51)

    One ethnic group frequently succeeds in working out an agricultural way of life where another group has failed. In the Hanna area this has not occurred.¹ In part of the area the bearers of the Anglo-Saxon culture are being supplanted, but the people supplanting them are proving little more successful in adjusting to the dry-belt environment. The adjustment they are making is at most a short-run one. It is in their failure to achieve successful dry-belt settlement rather than in the conflict of their culture with the dominant one that the new-comers present a problem.

    In its frontier days, Hanna...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR The Rural Village
    (pp. 52-74)

    The passing of the village has seldom been as spectacular as in the Hanna area, where it occurred with great rapidity only a few years after the villages were founded. The importance of villages in rural social organization has long been stressed. In 1911 Galpin wrote:

    Take the village as the community centre; start out from here on any road into the open country; you come to a home, and the deep wear of the wheels out of the yard toward the village indicates that this home goes naturally to this village for trade, doctor, postoffice, church, lodge, entertainment, high...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Town and Country
    (pp. 75-95)

    Although the village of Oyen is a social centre for the farmers who live near it, as well as a service station, the town of Hanna is only the latter. Hanna supplies more numerous and diverse goods and services than Oyen, but it is not a centre of rural life. It is regarded by the rural communities around as a distinct, and at times a hostile, social entity. Beyond its service-station functions, its only positive contributions have resulted from projects which its residents have, admittedly from self-interest, carried on for the benefit but without the co-operation of the farmers.


  11. CHAPTER SIX Class and Clique in the Town
    (pp. 96-120)

    The social distance between Hanna and the rural areas around is fully understandable only in the light of the social organization of the town. The cleavage between townsmen and farmers is not more marked than the cleavage between various groups within the town. Division into classes and cliques is one of the outstanding characteristics of Hanna. Because of it, not only does leadership devolve upon a small number of citizens but also the ability of these citizens to give wise and effective guidance is severely limited.

    Far from denying the division of Hanna into groups, Hanna residents describe the town...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN The Problem of the Rural Community
    (pp. 122-150)

    In the face of a fluctuating and declining economy, sparse population, low standards of living, ethnic invasion, and lack of leadership from villages and towns, old patterns of rural living have failed in the Hanna area. At first the ways of life developed in the eastern parts of Canada and in the United States appeared to have been successfully transplanted to the prairie. Then, with startling suddenness, their inadequacies were revealed and attempts had to be made to replace them.

    The history of the Hanna area, except as it has to do with the Plains Indians and the cattlemen, began...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Conclusion
    (pp. 151-158)

    The rural community of the Hanna area has not achieved a stable adaptation to its physical and socio-economic environment. For a time the ways of life developed elsewhere appeared to meet the requirements of the dry belt, but they were adequate only on a shortrun basis. This lack of adjustment has been one reason why people have moved away; among those who have remained, it has contributed both to personal disorganization and to social unrest.

    Two chief ways of life have been brought to the Hanna area. The first and more important was that worked out in other parts of...

    (pp. 159-174)
    (pp. 175-180)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 181-188)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 189-189)