The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Culture of a Contemporary Rural Community. No. 1, El Cerrito,
New Mexico; by Olen Leonard and C. P. Loomis; No. 2,
Sublette, Kansas, by Earl H. Bell, U. S. Department of
Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, 1942.
Department of Agriculture efforts at understanding and
aiding the farm population of the nation have undergone an
interesting evolution during the years since the first decade
of this century. These studies and the others in the series
mark the last step in that process. Originally these efforts
took the form of a study of soil chemistry. They then moved
on to the biological level, with studies of plant and animal
life forms which were conceived to be beneficial or detrimental
to the farmer. Later the engineers were called in to design
more efficient tools and houses for the farmer and particularly
his livestock. From this approach, attention was diverted to
economic factors of production and marketing.
After each of these attacks had failed to solve the farm
problem, and perhaps in desperation, the department turned
to sociologists and put them at the task of analyzing the farm
community and family structures. The studies reviewed here
are a part of this final step in the process. They are conducted
and reported according to a common pattern which consists
of a description of the community background, the use of the
land and marketing of the products, an analysis of the institu-
tional behavior of the people, and a final section on the
expanding world of the farmer. A great deal of emphasis
is placed on the attitudes and values of the farm folk in each
of these sections, and these factors are then taken into careful
account in the prognosis which concludes each study.
The basic assumption is that chemistry, biology, engineering,
and economics are insufficient, alone or together, to solve the
problems which beset the farm segment of our population.
The hope is that if to an understanding of these factors is
added an understanding of the community structure and
function, we will have acquired a sounder basis on which to
plan for the peace and prosperity of these folk. This does
not imply a disregard for former approaches, since the attitudes
and values in terms of which farmers act will be a synthesis
of the attitudes and values relating to the areas formerly
explored.
It will be interesting to see whether the sociologist can add an

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146055/. Accessed April 21, 2014.