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Rurality, Class and Whiteness in U.S. Dominant Discourse and Counter-Narrative, Postwar to Present

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Rurality, Class and Whiteness in U.S. Dominant Discourse and Counter-Narrative, Postwar to Present

Denton, Stacy (2012) Rurality, Class and Whiteness in U.S. Dominant Discourse and Counter-Narrative, Postwar to Present. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

In present U.S. society, there persists the conception that rurality — particularly that of the white working-class and working poor — is a spatially, temporally and culturally regressed space. In this “dominant discourse on rurality,” white working- and poverty-class (WWCPC) rural subjects are considered retrograde because they appear to deviate from the norms of progress and development that most reflect the “mainstream,” or the "middle-classless" and sub/urban. Although this phenomenon is not unique to the U.S., the forms in which this society continues to understand rural "locations" are uniquely American and have roots in the recent past, the postwar period. However, as we see in representations of the "sense of place" of those subjects who are intimate with rural locations in both the postwar and the present, there exists a counter-narrative to such unwarranted notions. Following Marc Angenot’s Social Discourse Analysis, this thesis analyzes a “discursive topology” that includes a wide array of written and visual materials from the postwar (defined as 1945-1970) and the post-1980s, including an analysis of the “topoi” employed to represent rurality in both dominant discourse (here, primarily found in the social sciences and journalistic reportage) and WWCPC rural counter-narratives as found in autobiography, literature, and filmic adaptations. The study of representations of rurality across diverse discourses gives a fuller understanding of the role of rurality in American society in these time periods. Further, by studying WWCPC rural counter-narratives as portrayed in autobiographical, literary and filmic representations of memory, we can access a voice that is critical of the middle-classless sub/urban norms of progress and development that continue to dominate American society.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Concordia University > Research Units > Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Denton, Stacy
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Humanities
Date:December 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Freiwald, Bina and Maule, Rosanna and Weber, Sandra
Keywords:American Studies, Rural Studies, Whiteness, Class
ID Code:975060
Deposited By: STACY DENTON
Deposited On:16 Apr 2013 14:11
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:39
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