Sociologists and political scientists have published a number of studies recently dealing with the tumultuous and often angry ethos of rural and small-town America. However, while a number of scholars have recognized that the anger and resentment present in much of the atmosphere of rural and small-town America is multifaceted and deeper than a simple desire for policy change, very little scholarly work has focused specifically on the role of ritual in exacerbating or alleviating social anger in these contexts. This article argues that the liturgical cultivation of hope is a powerful antidote to the vitriol of the political atmosphere in rural and small-town America (which can often be cultivated in its own right by rituals such as political rallies), and examines the ways in which such cultivation of hope takes place in rural Christian liturgy.
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