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Tobacco Town Futures Book Report | Assignment Help


FULL TITLE: Tobacco Town Futures: Global Encounters in Rural Kentucky

Edition: 1st Edition

Author: Ann E Kingslover

ISBN-13: 978-1577667087

Paper back: 183 pages

Item Weight: 1.55 pounds

Format: Electronic book text

Publisher: Waveland Press (12/29/2010)

Dimensions: 5.9 x 8.7 x 0.2 inches



About the Author

Ann E. Kingsolver is professor of anthropology and past director of the Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program at the University of Kentucky. She is the author or editor of seven books, including Tobacco Town Futures: Global Encounters in Rural Kentucky.


The following are the main topics that Tobacco Town Futures focuses on: Anthropology, Social Sciences, Cultural anthropology, American, Tobacco, Town life, Industry, Economic development, Antropologia Cultural, Antropología Cultural, Tobacco industry, Socialization, Textiles, Fieldwork, Small Town Life, Crop, Tobacco, Development, Globalization, Nicholas County, KY, Americans.

Book Description

The story line is situated between the foothills of Appalachia to the east and blue grass country which is on the west, Nicholas County is said to be home to small tobacco farms in rural Kentucky for the past 200 years. However, through economy changes in the midst of tremendous generated by the movement of both textile jobs and tobacco production from other countries, residents of Nicholas County face an uncertain future due to high competitions. Based on twenty-five years of research, Kingsolver longitudinal ethnography of Nicholas County, her home community, synthesizes geographical, historical, economic, and political processes that have shaped life ways and worldviews.

Kingsolver documents about the perspectives of farmers, politicians, factory workers those who were pursuing new niches in the labor market, and undergraduate school students in search of alternative futures. Countering people perception stereotypes, Kingsolver emphasizes the skills and agency of rural residents and demonstrates how people in widely dispersed and seemingly isolated communities in the world are connected through capitalist logic and practice, thereby illuminating globalizations far-reaching effects.

Methods of Data Collection Kingsolver Used

In conducting her research for doctorate about cultural anthropology from the University of Massachusetts, Ann Kingsolver chose her hometown which is, Carlisle, Kentucky. After the next quarter century, Kingslover returned on and off for further field research in her native Nicholas County, which is approximately two hours east of Louisville in a transitional zone between Kentucky’s Inner Bluegrass Region to the southwest and Appalachia to the east. Kingslover used the following methods to collect data:

Participant observation

Kingslover used this method to study particular populations for years while taking the details, these details finally helped her to write the book Tobacco Town Future. She studied different cultures and different population by observing their behaviors and culture.


Kingslover used interviewing method to learn about people behaviors and culture. Through asking people question she was able to learn a lot of things from them. She later used this data to write her book because she had full information about those people.

Techniques of data collection Kingslover used

Statistical Technique

It’s the science of collecting, exploring and presenting large amounts of data to discover underlying patterns and trends. Kingslover used these techniques to analyze which country tobacco is highly used and countries where tobacco is less used, she also used these techniques to learn about the population.

Case study

She used this technique through observing people of interest over an extended period of time and learned about their cultural and lifestyle.

Explanation about The Book

Tobacco Town Futures is about much more than tobacco farmers and their precarious futures. Its farms are small, and many Nicholas County farm families have relied heavily on farm employment. For long times, the biggest employer in the county was textile factory. Purchased in 1980 by Jockey International, that plant was closed in 2004, leaving several hundred workers out of works. When Toyota opened its assembly plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, in 1988, Nicholas Countians had another choice for opportunity for another factory job, but that one was long round trip commute. Farms, ranches, and small cities across America have found rurality itself an increasingly valuable commodity and Nicholas County was not left out.

Nicholas is located within an easy drive of three major urban centers which are Louisville, Lexington, and Cincinnat which make it discovered the value, as well as monetary, of their landscape, architecture, symbolic and crafts skills. Kingslover didn’t analyze textiles, Toyota, and tourism only she also examines public and private economic development efforts in different areas, including area development districts and alternative agriculture way. Her chapter on “Development Plans” offers an abundance of material for discussion in college and high school classes: the result of the North American Free Trade Agreement; industrial building and rural industrialization; tourism and the service sector as job drivers.

Tobacco Town Futures is highly targeted to the children of Nicholas County and all royalties from it is driven to the county’s schools. In 2010, Ann Kingsolver sponsored an essay contest on the future of Nicholas County for six, seventh, eighth, and ninth graders. The winning essay was presented in a postscript, letting them, as she says, “have the last word.”

To use John Van Maanen’s terminology, Tobacco Town Futures is part confessional tale, part critical tale. Kingsolver is “writing here for two main audiences: all Nicholas Countians and introductory cultural anthropology students. The first group of readers might concentrate more about individual names and details than the second and the second group might be more interested in anthropological concepts than the first” (p. 23). She employs an informal style, and sprinkles the text with personal asides and vignettes, both touching and funny (blackberry picking, p. 75; her brother’s carefully preserved hognose snake as being placed among the canned vegetables for 4-H judging, p. 139). Kingsolver is at her best when telling stories, which she often does in rich detail. Ann commendable effort which drive to write both for the subjects of her research and anthropology students falters at times, however, because she assumes too much local knowledge on the part of all readers.


Despite the perception of persecution among many from tobacco counties like Nicholas County, Kentucky, which Kingsolver portrays in her book, anthropologists tend not to study tobacco because they believe tobacco companies or tobacco producers are among the persecuted, downtrodden, marginalized, or otherwise victimized peoples that many of us love to represent. Although they do study tobacco, it is rarely because they consider tobacco farmers or companies victims. Instead, tobacco is a natural subject for anthropological study because the production, marketing, consumption, and symbolism of this potentially deadly sot weed are shot through with contradiction, paradox, and ambivalence.

The Kingsolver is convincing at her best when telling stories, which she often does in rich detail. Her commendable effort to write both for the subjects of her research and anthropology students falters at times, however, because she assumes too much local knowledge on the part of all readers.

The book could have gone a long way toward rectifying this problem by including a regional map showing Carlisle and Nicholas County in relation to cities, counties, highways, and rivers frequently mentioned in the book. As it stands, the only map is of Nicholas County highlighted on a county map of Kentucky.

Kingsolver book builds upon contribution by offering greater insight into and a richer understanding of her community, both for us and for them. Her results help us understanding our culture mores and building a positive attitude toward our culture and other people culture to.


After reading the book I find out Ann E. Kingslover uses prose lyrical (“lease agreements and labor exchanges bind neighbors together like baling twine,” p. 7), but run-on sentences are also numerous. I find out that book’s opening is scattered, bouncing from one point to another about globalization, what it is and how it plays out in the various locales where she has conducted fieldwork. I can recommend that she should have backed up a bit and also introduced Nicholas County and her place in it first and then tied the county and its inhabitants into globalization. This is to help the readers unfamiliar with her work or book and Kentucky, and even for a native of a different part of the state, her discussion was somehow confusing. The book would have greatly benefited from tighter copyediting: She overuse the word “for example,” which sometimes even appeared more than once in the same sentence.


Despite these criticisms, I think readers, whatever their backgrounds and interests, can take much away from Tobacco Town Futures. The book offers not only a richer understanding of rural life undergoing profound transformation but also new ways to think about, and new references points against which to measure, their own futures.

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