In June 2018, Independent Sector and Stanford Social Innovation Review launched Civil Society for the 21st Century, an article series featuring some of today’s leading thinkers and practitioners exploring current issues in civil society.
Are lingering and inaccurate assumptions made by “city folks” about rural Americans impeding opportunities to collaborate and create a more civil society for all – regardless of geographic location?
Allen Smart and Betsey Russell contemplate five community-building lessons that all of us could learn from rural America. For example, in places with a sparse population, people tend to wear multiple hats, giving them a broader view of the community’s needs. This means small towns can be “perfect laboratories” for understanding the complex intersectionality of social issues, while urban specialization may create a silo effect.
Interestingly, the authors say you’ll never hear the term “civil society” uttered in a rural setting – and the reason for that might surprise you.