Project Title

Tragic Optimism and Universal Values: Reframing the Narrative of Poverty in Central West Virginia

Author Names

Julian MillerFollow

Authors' Affiliations

Julian Miller, Department of Liberal Studies, College of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Location

AUDITORIUM ROOM 137B

Start Date

4-12-2019 1:20 PM

End Date

4-12-2019 1:35 PM

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Liberal Studies

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Marie Tedesco

Type

Oral Presentation

Classification of First Author

Graduate Student-Master’s

Project's Category

Psychology, Sociology

Abstract Text

The purpose of this investigation is to see how economic inequality, stereotypes, and unemployment affect the well-being of people who identify as middle class in central West Virginia. Questions include whether living in a place with high poverty rates, regardless of income, negatively affects a person’s attitude and well-being, and if middle class people are victims of “guilt-by-association” for living in a lower income county. The results of this study may help organizations like the ARC include data on well-being and life satisfaction alongside their economic reports. Moreover, the public may begin to view West Virginia differently, fueling tourism and overall economic growth. Relevant scholarship for this project includes: The Road to Poverty (Billings, Blee), Stigma (Goffman), Glass House (Alexander), Those Who Work, Those Who Don’t (Sherman), Women, Power, and Dissent… (Anglin), Man’s Search for Meaning (Frankl), and The Human Quest for Meaning (Wong). I am conducting phenomenological interviews of twelve people in six distressed counties and also administering the Life Attitudes Scale to determine their level of well-being. I will then use an ethnomethodological approach to analyze the lived experiences of these West Virginians. Specifically, I wish to understand how they confront the forces of Othering and dehumanization imposed on them by both cultural outsiders and regional organizations. In doing so, this study may prove that the social reality and moral framework constructed by the people who live in this area is far closer to the truth than any kind of statistical analysis.

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Apr 12th, 1:20 PM Apr 12th, 1:35 PM

Tragic Optimism and Universal Values: Reframing the Narrative of Poverty in Central West Virginia

AUDITORIUM ROOM 137B

The purpose of this investigation is to see how economic inequality, stereotypes, and unemployment affect the well-being of people who identify as middle class in central West Virginia. Questions include whether living in a place with high poverty rates, regardless of income, negatively affects a person’s attitude and well-being, and if middle class people are victims of “guilt-by-association” for living in a lower income county. The results of this study may help organizations like the ARC include data on well-being and life satisfaction alongside their economic reports. Moreover, the public may begin to view West Virginia differently, fueling tourism and overall economic growth. Relevant scholarship for this project includes: The Road to Poverty (Billings, Blee), Stigma (Goffman), Glass House (Alexander), Those Who Work, Those Who Don’t (Sherman), Women, Power, and Dissent… (Anglin), Man’s Search for Meaning (Frankl), and The Human Quest for Meaning (Wong). I am conducting phenomenological interviews of twelve people in six distressed counties and also administering the Life Attitudes Scale to determine their level of well-being. I will then use an ethnomethodological approach to analyze the lived experiences of these West Virginians. Specifically, I wish to understand how they confront the forces of Othering and dehumanization imposed on them by both cultural outsiders and regional organizations. In doing so, this study may prove that the social reality and moral framework constructed by the people who live in this area is far closer to the truth than any kind of statistical analysis.