New Book by Dr. Wagner Forthcoming


Power and Place: Preservation, Progress, and the Culture War Over Land

Melinda Bollar Wagner

University Press of Kentucky, forthcoming in spring/summer 2023

Rural life and culture hold a practical and symbolic importance in American society. A central tenet to the survival of our cherished values—and of ourselves as a species—is the stewardship of cultural diversity and the places that foster it, like rural America. These may be the places that teach us to use land to make a living and to make a life, to forge and carry on identity, and to feel history. They may reap a harvest of policies for an environmental balancing act that will salvage resources for America's children's children.

Power and Place: Preservation, Progress, and the Culture War over Land examines the ongoing culture wars pitting preservation against economically driven progress. For author Melinda Bollar Wagner, what began as a study of Appalachia's long-standing and continuing status as an energy sacrifice zone evolved into a 24-year research project that sheds new light on the physical and emotional parameters of cultural attachment to land. Drawing on data from interviews conducted with more than 220 residents from ten communities in five counties in Appalachia, Power and Place gives voice to rural residents whose place at the table is far from assured when energy, environmental, and infrastructure decisions are being made. 

Oct 20, 2022
Department of Sociology