Portrayal of phenomena in media compared to another discipline
In studying various scholarly journals, textbooks, and online resources, I noticed a striking difference between pop culture/media representations of rural life compared with the depictions in psychology. The stereotypes and iconic images are removed from psychology’s perspectives, replaced instead with awareness of, and even compassion for, the struggles and tribulations of life in modern rural communities. For example, one article provided an in-depth analysis of the local economy in a rural Missouri community and the impact of a corporate farm on employment, sense of community, wages, schooling, and school district boundaries. Another resource, The Center for Rural Psychology, is dedicated to serving the oft-underserved populations in rural and farming communities, places frequently dearth of adequate mental and behavioral healthcare professionals. Further, some studies in psychology posit that rural life has profoundly influenced modern public life, both urban and rural, in the United States. This is in contrast to media portrayals of farm and rural life as archaic and uncivilized.
The underlying value assumptions in psychology are much kinder than in mass media. As discussed in my first blog post on the topic, the assumptions in pop culture and media surrounding farm life point to an old way of living that does not keep up with the modern speed of life. Psychology, on the other hand, seems to recognize the vital place rural and farm living play in our country, even though this population comprises just a very small piece of a very large whole. Psychological perspectives seem to recognize the importance of the people and the way of life as very real and worth time and study. The stereotypes are removed and it seems psychologists studying this phenomena are prepared to look at the real lives of rural residents and not let old notions interfere with reality.