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Carl C. Taylor's publication of The Farmers' Movement: 1620-1920 constitutes one of the few attempts by a single author to review the history of farmers' movements in the U.S. More significantly, Taylor hypothesizes a continuity that links these various farmers' movements to one another. Indeed, Taylor (1953:2) contends that "the various farmer revolts have only been the high tides of a Farmers' Movement which 'is as persistent as the Labor Movement'. Taylor's thesis stands out against a literature that is primarily oriented Coward analysis of each episode of agrarian mobilization as a distinct, historical event. Taylor's thesis provokes "a framework of questioning" (Kasler, 1988) Chat generates important insights into the nature of social movements. Questions are raised about the role of "abeyance processes" (V. Taylor, 1989) and the class character of these mobilizations. The former concern with the abeyance process follows from considering the thesis of continuity. This latter concern with class analysis was, in fact, Taylor's initial interest. In concluding his history of farmers' movements, he wrote (1953- :492): "The first search was for an answer to that question: Are farmers a social class?" Taylor believed that the search for an answer to that question was "fruitless" given the social class theories of his eta. More recent developments in class analysis and social movement theory permit us to reconsider Taylor's thesis of a unitary Farmers' Movement in the context of his prior question concerning the class character of American farmers. This undertaking also advances sociology's project of bringing class analysis to social movement theory. That task is, in turn, part of the larger project of breathing life into the inanimate structuralism characteristic of much class analysis, a problem chat pervades much work in the 'new sociology of agriculture.'" Taylor's thesis inspires a sociological investigation of farmers' movements that steps back from the nuances of specific mobilizations and seeks patterns that transcend distinct historical conjunctures'. The result is an analysis that is capable of discovering the perseverance of select mobilization strategies grounded in both persistent economic structures as well as in the agency embedded in the abeyance process.



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