Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology/Criminal Justice

Committee Director

Randy Myers

Committee Member

Mone J. E. Danner

Committee Member

Travis Linnemann

Abstract

Every year, it seems, a new film makes its way through theaters across America demonstrating a new variant of the rural Appalachian deviant. These films play a major role in continuing to shape societal perceptions of rural white populations in Appalachia. Drawing on theoretical insights of Cohen, Hunt, Simon, and Lupton this dissertation examines how film depictions of the rural white Appalachians supports the continued construction of the rural Appalachian deviant. This study finds that films support said construction by demonstrating this population through themes about tainted blood, intimate partner violence, and drug addiction. Moreover, these films camouflage the facts behind the constructions of this modern “white trash” sub caste and play into the cultural distancing of proper white populations. Finally, this study provides insights into the socio-historical reasons for this continued construction of this deviant as a means to exploit, abandon, and criminalize this sub caste population.

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