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Resisting Development, Reinventing Modernity: Rural Electrification in the United States before World War II


  • Ronald R. Kline


The essay examines local resistance to the New Deal rural electrification program in the United States before World War II as a crucial aspect of socio-technical change. Large numbers of farm men and women opposed the introduction of the new technology, did not purchase a full complement of electrical appliances, and did not use electric lights and appliances in the manner prescribed by the goverment modernisers (the Rural Electrification Administration) and manufacturers. These acts of 'transformative resistance' helped to shape artefacts and social practices.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald R. Kline, 2002. "Resisting Development, Reinventing Modernity: Rural Electrification in the United States before World War II," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 11(3), pages 327-344, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev11:ev1117

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    More about this item


    U.S. Rural Electrification Administration; resistance to new technology;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities


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