Document Type

Honors Project (Campus Only)


This project examines how rural identity informs notions of community. Specifically, it places the voices of eight Midwesterners in conversation on how community is constituted and enacted in rural places. Using a theoretical framework of ethnosymbolism and psychological analyses of how humans both unify and divide, I argue that rural communities create informal “constitutions of belonging” and that these fundamental beliefs and practices inform how the community will engage with people who live beyond their local borders. Focusing on the 2016 post-election sentiments of growing division in the United States of America, this project investigates how, in a globalizing world, rural places establish notions of belonging. Ultimately, this project acts as an exploration into the complexities of Midwest rural identity in Wisconsin and Iowa, demonstrates the power of rural voices, and shows how disunity can be transcended through an empathetic understanding of how people create community.



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