Going somewhere or getting stuck : transitions to adulthood in rural Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xg94hs34j

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  • This dissertation explores the real world problem of rural youth out-migration and finds that the central problem is one of persistent class difference in this rural Oregon town. The research that informs this dissertation was conducted in a rural community of approximately 2300 residents in Eastern Oregon, here called Talltown. Data was collected through participant observation, photovoice (n = 8) and semi- structured interview (n = 63) among adolescents, emerging adults, and adults, specifically those working with local youth. The dissertation explores the ways in which Talltown youth encounter, internalize, and strategically enact dominant and counter norms of the local and larger fields. The primary finding of this dissertation is that as rural communities vie for position in the era of global neoliberalism, they discursively impose a similar competitive logic upon their youth, which reinforces the myth of meritocracy yet supports persistent class difference. Using the themes of "going somewhere" and "getting stuck," this dissertation aims to make visible, and thus challenge the hierarchical system with which class and other forms of socially constructed difference persist.
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