Document Type


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Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Social Work


The first wave of rural third sectors was characterized by voluntary associations and a strong emphasis on voluntary action, participation, citizenship and civic duty. In a second wave during the late 19th century, agricultural cooperatives and advocacy associations and other forms of organizing occurred. A more recent third wave of rural third sector activity has had a strong accent on community development. In the case of evolving rural nonprofit social services, the accent has been less on civic involvement or economic production than on establishing community social welfare services delivered by paid professionals. One important role of rural administrators is to stabilize and revitalize traditional rural ways of being and doing. Administrators must also mediate between rural communities and urban America, and manage "rurban" change. Building social capital, generating financial resources and promoting social justice are also important roles.


This is a preprint of Chapter 6 of Nancy Lohmann and Roger A. Lohmann, Eds. (2005) Rural Social Work. New York: Columbia University Press.



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