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critical discourse analysis, rurality, poverty, teacher talk, education, ethnography, postcritical ethnography

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This article addresses the ways in which elementary teachers in the rural rust belt both reproduce and contest dominant discourses of schooling, rurality, and poverty in their particular local context. Situated within a 4-year postcritical ethnographic study, this analysis of teacher discourse took part during an embedded, 4-month-long teacher study group. Within this context, the authors examine how the group’s discourse on poverty claimed that inequity was the fault of those experiencing it, as well as that a neoliberal discourse of education emphasized a flattened accountability and growth-only perspective within teacher’s professional interactions. However, through the addition of a spatial lens, they also situate these discourses within a particular rural and rust-belt context. This article teases apart the discursive threads within two teacher study groups, revealing the construction by teachers of their own rural, high-poverty communities as deficient, as well as exploring the complexities of the intersections of these discourses for teachers working in such settings. Their analysis contributes to a more robust understanding of the particular intersecting discourses currently circulating and producing a White-majority, high-poverty rural rust belt where children go to school and are taught by educators with their own complex orientations to schooling, rurality, and poverty.

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Theory & Practice in Rural Education, v. 9, issue 1, p. 23-43

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