When the rural poor prioritize issues such as the right to bear arms, and disapprove of welfare despite their economic concerns, they are often dismissed as uneducated and backward by academics and political analysts. In Those Who Work, Those Who Don’t (Minnesota, 2009), Jennifer Sherman offers a much-needed sympathetic understanding of poor rural Americans.
The book is based on the intimate interviews and in-depth research Sherman conducted while spending a year living in “Golden Valley,” a remote logging town in Northern California. Economically devastated by the 1990 ruling that listed the northern spotted owl as a threatened species, Golden Valley proved to be a rich case study.
Sherman is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Washington State University. Her presentation at the Poverty and Place conference is “‘Just Leave Me Alone’: Social Isolation and Civic Disengagement for the Small-City Poor.”