This week we talk about meth, Iowa and the dystopia of modern young adulthood, with Maria Kefalas from St. Joseph’s University.
Our discussion is centered on Dr. Kefala’s recent book review in Contexts on Nick Redding’s Methland: the Life and Death of an America Small Town. Because the content of Redding’s book pairs well with Kefala’s own fieldwork in Iowa, we discuss the premise that social problems like the use of meth in rural America are really the “symptoms” of the gradual decline these communities have been experiencing in the wake of de-industrialization. Moreover, while issues of crime and drugs tend to be understood as urban issues, Kefalas argues that rural America is experiencing its own decline in term of the opportunities it can offer young people. We conclude with Kefala’s suggestion that we “re-imagine” young adulthood and the types of educational and training opportunities made available to young people in the new global economy.