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Social Structure, Institutions, and Culture of the Oelwein Community Between 1980 and 2010 (Term Paper Sample)


Social Structure, Institutions, and Culture of the Oelwein Community Between 1980 and 2010


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Social Structure, Institutions, and Culture of the Oelwein Community Between 1980 and 2010
Methland chronicles a community under siege due to prevalent cases of methamphetamine abuse. According to Reding, the author, the drug menace had disoriented the social structure, institutions, and culture of Oelwein's approximately 6100 residents (1-3). Prominent characters Reding uses to highlight the town's plight include Hallberg, a medic who is eager to free his patients from addiction; Murphy, the county mayor; and Arnold Lori, the pioneer multimillion meth mogul. In the book, Reding recounts how weak administrative infrastructures quickly led to the downfall of an initially self-reliant city of Oelwein.
During the 1980s, the farming communities in the United States experienced an economic crisis almost severe as the Great Depression. According to Reding, the financial turmoil critically affected the existing social structure in the sense that the majority of the farmers who initially relied on agriculture for their livelihood were forced to seek alternative ways of generating income (16). Before the economic turmoil, the locals would earn decent and genuine money from working in conventional sources of employment. However, with these opportunities gone, they turned to whichever illicit activities there were to generate income. Amongst the farmers, some resolved to selling anhydrous ammonia fertilizer to drug dealers for making methamphetamine (34-35). They would then use the income as a source of sustenance for their families. Unbearable economic conditions provided a favorable environment for meth production.

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