The Rural Sociological Society has recognized Shannon Bell and Richard York for Best Article. The article, “Community Economic Identity: The Coal Industry and Ideology Construction in West Virginia,” was published in March 2010 in Rural Sociology, the Society’s journal. Shannon Bell is an assistant professor of sociology at UK; Richard York, who co-authored the article, is a professor at the University of Oregon.
In their article, Bell and York address the relationship between capitalist modes of production and ecological destruction. Using the Appalachian coal industry as a case study, they demonstrate the ways in which declines in coal industry jobs and the rising tide of protest against mining practices have challenged the coal industry’s hold on political power. In response to these challenges, they argue that the coal industry created the group “Friends of Coal” in response to grassroots organizers.
Shannon Bell conducts research on topics including environmental sociology, gender and social movements. Currently, her work focuses on the barriers to local participation in the environmental justice movement in response to mountaintop removal coal mining in Central Appalachia.