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Keywords:

  • shale gas development;
  • social impacts;
  • collective trauma

Abstract

This article describes a place and people undergoing rapid transition using some of the preliminary findings from two years of ongoing ethnographic field work. Through exploring what ethnographic evidence is revealing concerning the impacts of Marcellus shale gas development in Bradford County, in Northeastern Pennsylvania, I illustrate the ways that rapid social and economic change processes are impacting daily lives and community dynamics in one traditionally agricultural and rural place. I provide a broad overview of the social history and current social dynamics in order to understand the significance of the short-term changes agricultural landowners and other local residents have witnessed and experienced. I discuss some of the most significant short-term changes in quality of life as seen by a small group of agricultural landowners, in relation to the cultural significance of place, home, and family, and what this tells us about the sociocultural and psychological impacts of rapid energy development. Finally, I comment on what my ethnographic data show so far with regard to the short- and long-term individual and collective impacts being experienced in this one community.