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Title:Deciding When to Decide: Illinois Grain Farmers at Retirement
Author(s):Roper, Roy Ernest
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:This dissertation has focused on Illinois grain farmers as they approach self-defined ages of retirement. Intensive case studies in one township were combined into three primary types and one disrupted case based on land control styles. The aim was to display common factors (historical, cultural, technological, and environmental) which influenced farm management styles, social networks, and growth and change in families and individuals. Locating Illinois grain farmers in time and space injected a sense of continuity of the past with the present and an awareness of the continuing nature of change in rural Illinois.
The temporal nature of social life was further expressed by using such concepts as mutual contingencies of lives and careers through time, and personal engagements. These illustrated how demographic, social and cultural trends have modified movement through the life course forcing further divergence from an ideal model of the retirement transition. "Deciding to decide", a delicate process of deciding when and who will supercede a grain farmer in the operation of the farm and care of the land, was shown to have stretched across a longer span of time.
The key lesson from this study is that the lengthening of the life span and functional work life has created conditions potentially destabilizing for the two-generational farm family and property transfer system. The long-term allocation and sequencing of people and land may more easily fit a three-generational model. The consequences include keeping youth dependent on their elders for a longer period of time, delaying the youth to adulthood transition as well as having the elders deal with younger generations for a longer period of time in order to synchronize the transferal of land. For most of the U.S., the grandparental role may be largely inactive except for ceremonial occasions. However, the role of grandparents or their surrogates in the land transfer system may be more critical than in the past. The grandparental generation may be better positioned than the parental generation to meet the ever-increasing financial and land needs of the younger farmers as they try to become established.
Issue Date:1985
Description:374 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1985.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8600296
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1985

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