Economic decline and a rural Manitoba village : strategies for survival

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Lawless, Lynn Margaret
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This thesis examines several factors which are contributing to socio-economic decline in the rural Manitoba village of Elphinstone and its surrounding area. The local situation of decline is related to more general trends in the economy of Canadian grain agriculture. An argument is brought forward for the use of theoretical constructs which link micro and macro levels of analysis -- in particular, a conceptualization of capital in economic, cultural and social forms -- and the influence of ethnicity and culture in shaping economic behaviour and local stratification systems. Data collected through participant observation and formal case study interviews are presented to indicate the variation in social and economic strategies being employed in the local setting and to elaborate the local system. An examination of local strategies, in terms of levels of the various forms of capital they embody, is used to interpret the conflicts found to arise from the co-existence of kin-ordered and capitalist forms of production and the resulting ambiguous position of certain individuals in the local stratification system. The argument concludes with speculation as to the direction of change in the local system in light of current trends in the macro system.