John W. Warnock

Social Work in Rural Settings



University of Regina

Faculty of Social Work

Social Work 419-001 - Social Work in Rural Settings
Regina, Fall semester 1998
Thursdays, 11:30 am to 2:15 pm, Room 611, Library Building

Instructor: Dr. John W. Warnock


COURSE DESCRIPTION: Rural social problems and issues as well as the political and economic settings in which they occur will be explored. Theories and concepts useful in the performance of rural social work will be a major focus.


COURSE OBJECTIVES: The course will provide an opportunity to consider the issues and conditions of life that people face in rural and isolated communities which are characteristically based on agriculture and resource extraction. These pose special problems for human service workers and service users. These areas are heavily impacted by government social and economic policies. The focus of the course will be on Saskatchewan, but it will draw on the experience of other areas as well. Through readings, class discussion, and research students will gain some insight into the role that social workers can play in this environment.  




(1) Ken Collier. Social Work with Rural Peoples. Vancouver: New Star Books, 1993. 2nd edition. Paperback. 


(2) Christopher Lind. Something's Wrong Somewhere; Globalization, Community and the Moral Economy of the Farm Crisis. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 1994. Paperback. 


Other readings will be placed on reserve for this class in the Main Library. Shorter pieces will be handed out in class.


GENERAL EXPECTATIONS: Regular attendance is expected. This course uses the "adult education" model in which the experiences, knowledge, previous reading, opinions, views and insights of all participants are valued. Class participation is essential to gain the greatest benefit from this course. Assignments are expected on time. Class preparation in advance is necessary.  This is an academic course. It is expected that students will type or write their papers legibly and use good English. Students must document their work with footnotes and a bibliography. Papers should be proofread to avoid simple errors. Students should be familiar with the University's position on plagiarism.




 Major research paper                                            40%
 Group presentation                                               10%
 Journal                                                                  20%
 Final examination                                                  30%




Between September 10 and October 29 the student shall select two news items each week that are relevant to social work in rural and remote areas. The items can be from newspapers, magazines, journals, television, the internet, or radio. The student will summarize the issue and then provide a commentary explaining how she/he thinks the information will impact social work in rural and remote areas. The journals will be due on October 29.




Each student will prepare a social science research paper, 15 - 20 pages in length, double spaced. Students are expected to use the usual references: government documents, books, pamphlets, journal articles, magazines, newspapers and the internet. The purpose of this research paper is to analyze how a structural situation affects people who live in an area, what problems are created, what services are available, and how it impacts on rural practitioners. Students will choose to do their research in one of the areas listed below and will work with others in that topic area as a group. Class time will be devoted to general discussion of the issues in each area. Group presentations will be made in the class on November 26 and December 3. The general areas are as follows:
     (1) The impact of the mining industry on people living in northern Saskatchewan.
     (2) The impact of the forestry industry on people in the
         northern part of Saskatchewan.
     (3) The impact of changes in federal and provincial social
         programs on seasonal workers and their communities.
     (4) The impact of resource extraction development on
         Aboriginal communities.
     (5) The industrialization of agriculture and its impact on
         farm communities.
     (6) The status of women in resource communities or rural

         farm and small town communities.  


Individual papers may be handed in following the group's presentation. All papers are due on December 3.  




The final examination will be held on December 15, at 2:00 pm. It will be an essay examination requiring analytical answers which combine facts with theory and interpretation.




(1) The journal will be graded on the quality of the articles chosen, their relevance to rural social work, and comment on why this event will impact on rural service delivery. The analysis should include the student's observations, insights and opinions. 


(2) The research paper will take into account the quality of the analysis and content presented, evidence of research undertaken, the extent and quality of the sources, evidence of understanding of the theoretical questions, and original thought and observation. 


(3) The final exam will be graded on demonstrated ability to integrate information and theory with concrete examples and ideas. The student should demonstrate that she/he has done the readings and learned something from the class discussions and presentations. Original thought and analysis is expected. Students are expected to use good English.




September 10    Introduction to the course.

             Collier, Chapters 1, 2 & 3.
             Carolyn Sachs, "What is Rural?" 3 pp.
             Video: In Her Chosen Field (28 min) September 17    The hinterland economy.
             Janine Brodie, "Theories of Regional Imbalance." 20 pp. (Reading #1, on reserve)
 September 24    Structure of farming in the era of neoliberalism: industrial agriculture and domestic commodity production.

             Lind, Introduction & Chapter 1.
             Thomas N. Urban, "Industrialization of the World's Food System." 3 pp.
             Craig Palmer and Peter Sinclair, "Domestic Commodity Production." 6 pp. 


October 1    Resource towns - one industry towns.

             One of the three studies from the Northern British Columbia Women's Task Force Report on
             Single Industry Resource Communities: Kitimat, Fraser Lake or Mackenzie. (Reading #2, on reserve)
             Video:  No Life for a Woman (27 min)

 October 8    Persistence of patriarchal values in rural and remote communities.

             Elizabeth Teather, "Farm Women in Canada, New Zealand and Australia Redefine their Rurality." 12 pp.
             Gerda Lerner, "The Origins of Patriarchy." 2 pp.
 October 15    Colonialism, modernization and First Nations peoples.

             Vic Satzewich and Terry Wotherspoon,  "Aboriginal Peoples and Economic Relations." 30 pp.                     
 October 22    Impact of neoliberalism on rural Canada.

             Lind, Chapters 2 & 3. 

 October 29    Farmworkers as a growing rural class.

            Gurcharn S. Basran, Charan Gill and Brian D. MacLean, "Farmworkers and Their Children." 6 pp.
             B. Singh Bolaria, "Farm Labour, Work Conditions and Health Risks." 6 pp.
             Fiona Wilson: "Downgraded Labour." 4 pp.
             Video:  Harvest of Shame. (45 min.)             


November 5    Political responses to external domination.

             George Melnyk, "The West as Protest: The Cycles of Regional Discontent." 9 pp.
              William Carroll, "Social Movements and Counter-Hegemony in a Canadian Context." 6 pp. 


November 12    Community development as an alternative strategy.

             Lind, Chapter 4.
             Paul Wilkinson and Jack Quarter, "The Evangeline Co-operative Tradition." 25 pp.
             Video: We're the Boss. (29 min.) 


November 19    Class presentations by groups. 


November 26    Class presentations by groups. 


December 3       Class presentations by groups.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: The following is a selected list of references which students might helpful in their research.
(1) General rural sociology sources:


 Basran, G.S. and David A. Hay, eds. 1988. The Political Economy of Agriculture in Western Canada. Toronto: Garamond Press.

Bollman, Ray D., ed. 1992.  Rural and Small Town Canada. Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing. 

Browne, William P. et al. 1992. Sacred Cows and Hot Potatoes; Agrarian Myths in Agricultural Policy. Boulder:  Westview Press. 

Buttel, Frederick H. and Howard Newby, eds. 1980. The Rural Sociology of Advanced Societies; Critical Perspectives. London: Croom Helm.

Hay, David A. and G.S. Basran, eds. 1992. Rural Sociology in Canada. Toronto: Oxford University Press. 

Kneen, Brewster. 1989. From Land to Mouth; Understanding the Food System. Toronto: N.C. Press. 

Magdoff, Fred, Frederick H. Buttel and John Bellamy Foster, eds. 1998. "Hungry for Profit; Agriculture, Food and Ecology. Monthly Review, Vol. 50, July-August. Special edition. 

Webber, Marlene. 1992. Food for Thought. Toronto: Coach House Press.   

Winson, Anthony. 1992. The Intimate Commodity; Food and Development of the Agro-Industrial Complex in Canada. Toronto: Garamond Press.


(2) Regional disparities in Canada. 


Brodie, Janine. 1990. The Political Economy of Canadian Regionalism. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 

Burrill, Gary and Ian McKay, eds. 1987.  People, Resources, and Power; Critical Perspective on Underdevelopment and Primary Industries in the Atlantic Region. Frederickton: Acadiensis Press.  

Matthews, Ralph. 1983.  The Creation of Regional Dependency. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


(3) Globalization and neoliberal policies. 


Allahar, Anton L. and James E. Cote. 1998. Richer and Poorer; The Structure of Inequality in Canada. Toronto: James Lorimer & Co. 

Basran, Gurcharn, Charan Gill and Brian D. MacLean. 1995. Farmworkers and Their Children. Vancouver: Collective Press.  

Bonano, Alessandro et al., eds. 1994. From Columbus to Conagra; The Globalization of Agriculture and Food. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press. 

Canada. Human Resources Development Canada. 1994.  Agenda: Jobs and Growth; Improving Social Security in Canada. Hull: Human Resources Development Canada, October.

Johnson, Andrew F., Stephen McBride and Patrick J. Smith, eds. 1994.  Continuities and Discontinuities; The Political Economy of Social Welfare and Labour Market Policy in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.  

"Keep Canada Caring: Speak out for Social Programs." 1994. Action Canada Dossier, No. 40, Fall. Special Issue. 

McBride, Stephen and John Shields. 1997. Dismantling a Nation; The Transition to Corporate Rule in Canada. Halifax: Fernwood Books.  

Palmer, Craig and Peter Sinclair. 1997.  When the Fish are Gone; Ecological disaster and Fishers in Northwest Newfoundland. Halifax: Fernwood Publishers.  

Riches, Graham and Gordon Ternowetsky, eds. 1990. Unemployment and Welfare: Social Policy and the Work of Social Work. Toronto: Garamond Press. Teeple, Gary. 1995. Globalization and the Decline of Social Reform. Toronto: Garamond Press.


(4) Single industry towns in remote areas.


Bowles, Roy T., ed. 1982. Little Communities and Big Industries: Studies in the Social Impact of Canadian Resource Extraction. Toronto: Butterworths Canada Ltd.

Budgen, Mark. 1983. "Tumbler Ridge: Planning the Physical and Social Development of a New Community. Habitat, Vol. 26, pp. 8-12. 

Coates, Ken and William Morrison. 1992. The Forgotten North; A History of Canada's Provincial Norths. Toronto: James Lorimer & Company. 

Detomasi, Don D. and John W. Gartrell, eds. 1984. Resource Communities: A Decade of Disruption. Boulder: Westview Press. 

Lucas, Rex A. 1971. Minetown, Milltown, Railtown: Life in Canadian Communities of Single Industry. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.  

Storey, Keith and Mark Shrimpton. 1989. Long Distance Commuting in the Canadian Mining Sector. Kingston: Queen's University.


(5) Patriarchal values. 


Coontz, Stephanie and Peta Henderson, eds. 1986. Women's Work, Men's Property; The Origins of Gender and Class. London: Verso. 

di Leonardo, Micaela, ed. 1991. Gender at the Crossroads of Knowledge; Feminist Anthropology in the Postmodern Era. Berkeley: University of California Press. 

Lerner, Gerda. 1986. The Creation of Patriarchy. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Mandel, Nancy. 1995. Feminist Issues; Race, Class and Sexuality. Scarborough: Prentice-Hall Canada Inc. 

Mies, Maria. 1986. Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale; Women in the International Division of Labour. London: Zed Press. 

Sachs, Carolyn. 1996. Gendered Fields; Rural Women, Agriculture and Environment. Boulder: Westview Press.


(6) Colonialism, racism and First Nations peoples.


Adams, Howard. 1995. A Tortured People; The Politics of Colonization. Penticton: Theytus Books.  

Churchill, Ward. 1997. A Little Matter of Genocide; Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present. San Francisco: City Lights Books.  

Dobbin, Murray. 1981. The One-and-a-Half Men; The Story of Jim Brady and Malcolm Norris, The Metis Patriots of the Twentieth Century. Vancouver, New Star Books. 

Dyck, Noel. 1991. What is the Indian "Problem"; Tutelage and Resistance in Canadian Indian Administration. St. John's: Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial University. 

Frideres, James S. 1998. Aboriginal Peoples in Canada; Contemporary Conflicts. Scarborough: Prentice Hall Allyn and Bacon Canada. 5th

Satzewich, Vic and Terry Wotherspoon. 1993. First Nations; Race, Class and Gender Relations. Scarborough: Nelson Canada. 

Wright, Ronald. 1993. Stolen Continents; The "New World" Through Indian Eyes. Toronto: Penguin Books.
(7) Political resistance to external domination. 


Carroll, William K. 1992. Organizing Dissent; Contemporary Social Movements in Theory and Practice. Toronto: Garamond Press. 

Lipset, Seymour Martin. 1968. Agrarian Socialism; The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in Saskatchewan. New York: Doubleday. 

Macpherson, C.B. 1962. Democracy in Alberta; Social Credit and the Party System. Toronto:  University of Toronto Press.  

Makahonuk, Glen. 1997. Class, State and Power: The Struggle for Trade Union Rights in Saskatchewan. Saskatoon: Canadian Union of Public Employees. 

Melnyk, George, ed. 1992. Riel to Reform; A History of Protest in Western Canada. Saskatoon: Fifth House Publishers. 

Robin, Martin. 1968. Radical Politics and Canadian Labour, 1880-1930. Kingston: Queen's University Press.  

Scott, Alan. 1990. Ideology and the New Social Movements. London: Unwin Hyman.  

Sharp, Paul F. 1997. The Agrarian Revolt in Western Canada. Regina: University of Regina, Canadian Plains Research Centre. Reprint with new introductions.


(8) Community development strategies. 


Fulton, M.E., ed. 1990. Co-operative Organizations and Canadian Society. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.  

MacPherson, Ian. 1979. Each for All; A History of the Co-operative Movement in English Canada, 1900 - 1945. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Quarter, Jack. 1992. Canada's Social Economy. Toronto: James Lorimer & Company. 

Ross, David P. 1986. From the Roots Up; Economic Development as if Community Mattered. Toronto: James Lorimer & Company for the Canadian Council on Social Development. 

Wilkinson, Paul and Jack Quarter. 1996. Building a Community-Controlled Economy; The Evangeline Co-operative Experience. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


(9) Important journals. Human Services in the Rural Environment

 Rural Sociology
 Regional Studies
 Journal of Rural Studies
 Sociologia Rurales
 Small Town
 Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology
 Canadian Journal of Sociology
 Canadian Review of Social Policy

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