Childerley: Nature and Morality in a Country Village


(1994, University of Chicago Press)

Co-Winner of the 1995 Best Book Award of the Sociology of Culture Section of the American Sociological Association.

In Childerley a twelfth-century church rises above the rolling quilt of pastures and grain fields. Volvos and tractors share the winding country roads. Here, in this small village two hours from London, stockbrokers and stock-keepers live side by side in thatched cottages, converted barns, and modern homes.

Why do these villagers find country living so compelling? Why, despite our urban lives, do so many of us strive for a home in the country, closer to nature? Michael Bell suggests that we are looking for a natural conscience: an unshakeable source of identity and moral value that is free from social interests – comfort and solace and a grounding of self in a world of conflict and change.

Description courtesy of The University of Chicago Press.