Center Projects

The Center’s projects are on-going and the accompanying project pages updated continuously. Check back regularly for the most recent public expression of the work.

The Human Basis of Democracy: Relational Power-Sharing & Everyday Authoritarianism in U.S. Rural Cultures

Research/Cultural Work




In Progress

The Human Basis of Democracy: Relational Power-Sharing & Everyday Authoritarianism in U.S. Rural Cultures is a nonfiction manuscript in progress that shares findings from three years’ total ethnographic immersion–post-11.6.16–in two distinct rural cultures: Cave Junction, Oregon and Sea Ranch, California. At bottom, the book shows how the human commitment to share power founds democratic systems and processes.

The study’s method–framed in both process philosophy and anthropological ethnographic terms–is unique in its longevity in the field and total immersion protocols. Theoretically framed in terms generally reserved for urban cultural studies–but accessible to most audiences–the analysis of rural cultural norms and practices introduces newly relevant field-grounded concepts of power, relations, and agency.

The study’s findings identify normal everyday authoritarian practices — relational power-stealing and -hoarding — in both rural cultures. The practices described have devastating impacts on human safety, trust, and well-being–the enabling conditions necessary to support human agency: the power to speak, to dissent, and the power to drive forward momentum. Also described is a generational “orientation” embodied by members of the two rural cultures whose normal relational practices destroy natural resources and function to support state-level authoritarianism.

The Human Basis of Democracy puts the tools to understand and navigate power relations in every concerned U.S. American’s hands. Unapologetically a description of what’s democratically possible in the United States, the book makes recommendations for reclaiming stolen power, creating power-sharing relations, and producing new sources of power. Project background.

On-Going Research & Cultural Work

Preparations with the Center’s team are currently underway to continue “The Enabling Conditions Study” in Cave Junction, Oregon, tentatively scheduled for March and May 2020. Aimed at adding focused field observations and resident interviews to the 19 months of ethnographic and auto-ethnographic work. Community media and arts projects–grounded in research–will also begin.

The Sea Ranch Nonhuman Residents Project” was an effort to demonstrate, model, and document relational reframing in a specific rural culture. The penultimate document for the theory-grounding project is here. “Loosening The Soil: The Cultural Work Part of U.S. Rural Cultures Studies,” is the accompanying article documenting rural cultural work in both Cave Junction, Oregon and Sea Ranch, California. Available mid-Spring 2020.

The Center’s Media & Educational Projects

The Center’s bi-monthly newsletter publication, The Rural Portal Project, keeps subscribers up to date on Center projects and events.

An extension of the RPP electronic publication is also in development as an educational podcast called, “Voices from the Rural Portal.” The 30-minute program will provide a forum rural-urban interactions in various forms.

“From the Field” Rural Workshop Series (Feb-March)

Total Immersion Protocol: Rural Field Research Practices

Stereotypes & Assumptions: Rural U.S. Americans

Forward Momentum: Escaping White Rural Poverty

“Race War Coming”: Guns, NRA, and Rural America

You can help support the Center’s research and creative work by purchasing a Newsletter subscription for as little as $100.

1 Year Newsletter Subscription

First Rural Portal Project edition anticipated January 20, 2020 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Center for U.S. Rural Cultures Studies is an Accelerate Publishing project. Accelerate: A Niche Publishing & Communications Consulting Co.,–est. in 2015–is a socially just for-profit small business in California.