In modern literary theory and philosophy, the concept of place, despite its permeating influence in many if not all aspects of existence, has been far too overlooked. In my thesis, I set out to redefine place in a way that encompasses this importance. I chose to ground my exploration in literature—specifically “Eveline” in James Joyce’s Dubliners, The Castle by Franz Kafka, and “Las ruinas circulares” in Jorge Luis Borges’ Ficciones—in order to then move outside of the texts to situate these works in their respective authorial realities and consider the influence of external, real place on intratextual place. To examine the extent of the relevance of each author’s own presence of place, I consider theories regarding the origin of art with the help of Aristotle’s Poetics, literary scholars who have focused on these authors, and theorists who have focused on the role of reality in fiction. Finally, with the help of Martin Heidegger’s Poetry, Language, Thought and my own analysis, I argue that there is not such a stark distinction between literature and reality, that art is neither merely imitation nor creation, author neither imitator nor creator, and in the end, I expand upon the important relationship between place, art, and being in order to formulate a new definition of place in a literary and aesthetic context.
This thesis explores the roles that museums in Andalusia, Spain play in constructing and reflecting a sense of identity and nationalism. Andalusia is composed of imagined communities defined by their particular histories and cultural contexts, and museums are central in navigating the variability in the region’s collective memory. Museums emphasize certain aspects of the region’s history and culture and exclude others in the process of constructing narratives. By observing twenty-six museums in Andalusia, categorized as archaeology museums, history museums, ethnographic museums, and cultural interpretation centers, it is possible to identify elements central to defining the region and its inhabitants. Examining the way in which particular events and cultures are highlighted or silenced, and the way in which the past is constructed in relation to the present, reveals the power the museums hold in creating identities and perceptions of places and people.
The tradition of the debutante ball is a coming of age ritual for upper-class women that works to confirm or elevate a women, and her family’s social status. Reflecting on my own debutante ball, I was curious to know what other debutantes’ reasons for participating were, to what extent they were aware of the social implications of debutante balls, and how they made meaning of the ritual. A coming of age ritual presents implies that ones identity is changing. The majority of the women I interviewed said that their debutante ball didn’t have a large effect on their identity. The identities of elite women are influenced more by their class than their gender. The women whose identities were not effected by their ball all had family members who were also debutantes, so the ritual was confirming their status and not changing it. The two women who placed more significance on the ritual were both the first in their families to be debutantes. It seems that they find their ball more significant because it represented a changed and elevated social status for them and their families. Debutante balls are primarily ceremonies that reinforce identities, not change them. Because these women distance their role as a debutante from their identity, they also distance themselves from the negative social implications of the debutante ball. All of the women I interviewed were able to think critically about their balls, but were able to justify their participation either because of family tradition or because it was a fun experience. These women viewed debutante balls as positive from individual standpoints, however debutante balls need to be considered from a larger social perspective.
Within the field of migration studies, the study of transnationalism is a relatively new concept with a building body of empirical research. There is ongoing debate over the meaning of the term, its significance as an area of study, and its legitimacy as a concept that can be applied to future generations of migrants. In this paper, I use data gathered from my ethnographic research to present an analysis of a Hmong transnational community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I illustrate the relationship between their history as a diaspora (and their ascribed refugee identity), their agrarian background, and the urban agricultural movement. I propose that, as refugees, the Hmong exhibit a strong desire to assert their agrarian identity within United States. Thus, they maintain a transnational identity that is reinforced through urban agriculture. Urban agriculture is then an economic pathway in which the Hmong simultaneously assimilate into society and maintain home-country ties. It facilitates the maintenance of a Hmong transnational identity and the strengthening of their transnational community.
Using the subcultural framework from the Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) and Marxist definitions of class this study seeks to better understand upper class youth subcultures. It argues that through identity tied to the parent culture upper class youth form subcultures of symbolic resistance around relationships both romantic and familial. This study uses quantitative analysis of a survey taken at Colorado College. Gender was statistically significant when determining respondents feelings and actions around relationships. Young women were attempting to resist the dominant discourse while young men were complicit, proving gender as a currently relevant subculture. Overall, class was not statistically significant. The analysis draws on Muggleton’s (2000) theory of neo-tribalism and hypothesis that class is no longer relevant to post modern youth. In the end, participating in youth subcultures gives the youth a sense of resistance, however, is a futile effort as subcultures are re-commodified by their dominant culture and rendered harmless without any real change to the structures of power.
Decades after growing up in poverty and surviving physical and sexual abuse, I've had the opportunity to witness my mother's best efforts from a new perspective. She has come into money and is currently raising another little girl. In this paper, I explore the differences in her parenting and values before and after experiencing upward social movement. In my parents' second chance and attempts to "get it right," they have made decisions resulting in many unintended negative consequences. In the end, the addition of money does not seem to have had a positive effect on them or the child they are raising.
Through a grounded theory approach this thesis reports on a study investigating reflection within the organizational context of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the impact reflection has upon individual identity. A snowball sample of persons with a background in the LDS Church (n = 8) wrote and submitted journal entries upon stories from the book Echoes of Mind: Thinking Deeply About Humanship to be analyzed following grounded theory methodology. As a result of the analysis the author proposes the grounded theory of conflict engagement holding that individuals engage, through reflection, the conflicting experiences inherent to their organizational context. Through this process individuals arrive at a better understanding of their identity.
Each day we make many decisions about how we want to look and act in order to maintain our identity and present ourselves to society in the best possible light. Some individuals rebel against social norms while others follow them to the extreme. Our notions of self are influenced by society and how we desire to be perceived by society. This study focuses on the presentation of self in digital media, specifically on the online social network Facebook. I analyze how individuals construct their Facebook identity and why they present themselves in particular ways. Since users’ identities are known both offline and online by their audience they are unlikely to present a false-self to their “friends.” By interviewing 11 volunteers, I found that participants in this study mainly displayed information about themselves through pictures. Further, participants presented a virtual self through either carefully set privacy settings, not allowing friends to see tagged photos and consciously presenting themselves with certain viewers in mind. Given this, users are omitting information about their real selves in order to appear as their hoped-for self that they can only obtain through their virtual self. By looking at how individuals present themselves on Facebook and their choices about how they do so, we may better understand the relationship between identity and social norms and the significance of self presentation in virtual space and social interaction.
Sociologists are starting to understand emotions as a socially constructed phenomenon. Research has been conducted to understand how emotions prevail in every environment, whether it is academic, person, or work settings. However, there is a lack of information gathered regarding emotions during critical transition periods. Based on previous theoretical findings about emotions, there are particular ways students should emote throughout their college experience. This study looks at the display of emotions at two liberal arts colleges. Through survey and focus group research, this thesis found that the colleges were much the same, and the expected differences in gender were not found. The major difference was between the expression and suppression of emotion between freshmen, sophomores, and upperclassmen.