Organized Session, Workshop or Roundtable Title

Appalachian Culture and Higher Education

Participation Type

Roundtable

Participant Type

Multi-presenter

Organized Session, Workshop or Roundtable Abstract

This roundtable will present initial findings of a mixed methods group project by faculty from Marshall University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology. We have used ethnographic methods both of and by our students and have conducted a survey of Marshall University general education students and a second survey of high school students in Cabell County, where Marshall U is located. It should be noted that while we discuss contributions of attitudes and values that can be identified as elements of "Appalachian culture," we are not making a "culture of poverty" arguments that ignores the structural factors for which the cultural attitudes and values can be considered a response. Our findings do substantiate many claims made about Appalachian culture by theorists from the 1960s at least for a percentage of high school seniors and college students.

Organizer

Marty Laubach

At-A-Glance Bio- Organizer

Marty Laubach is a Professor of Sociology and Chair of Marshall University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Presentation #1 Title

Appalachian Culture and Higher Education: Cultural Traits that Hinder Academic Success

Presentation #1 Abstract

Appalachia is a region long known as an exception to the economic progress of the United States. Social theorists since the 1960s have attempted to explain persistent poverty with aspects of Appalachian culture in addition to its geographic isolation and undeveloped infrastructure. The geographic isolation has been somewhat ameliorated with new roads and information infrastructure such as the internet, so policy makers are left to explain the persistence of poverty and flagging economic development. One important claim about Appalachian culture is that it fosters a disinterest bordering on hostility to education, especially higher education, and thus Appalachia continues to have low levels of educational attainment. Since globalization has allowed many jobs that do not require college degrees to be moved to regions of the world for which unskilled labor can be paid much lower, the Appalachian labor force remains at a disadvantage. Using surveys of university and high school students, this study finds a constellation of attitudes and perceptions that can be identified with the theorized elements of Appalachian culture that, for a subset of students, work against the focus, sense of self-efficacy, and internal locus of control identified with educational success.

At-A-Glance Bios- Participant #1

Marty Laubach is a Professor of Sociology and Chair of Marshall University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Presentation #4 Abstract

Dr. Stone's contribution to the roundtable will include a discussion of the quantitative methods and analysis from the study of Appalachian culture and higher education.

At-A-Glance Bios- Participant #4

Maggie Stone earned her Ph.D. in Applied Sociology from the University of Louisville in 2014. She also holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and Personnel Services and previously worked for the Kentucky Department of Corrections as well as a variety of regional acute and long-term care medical facilities. The clients for whom she has provided services and assessments include marginal populations such as the medically fragile, sex offenders, chronically mentally ill, and developmentally challenged. Today she continues her work with stigmatized persons through research on domestic adult sex workers. Her work with this population focuses on sexual health, legislative and depenalization measures, stigma, and community initiatives. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in research methods, statistics, advanced quantitative methods, and the sexualization and commodification of the body.

Keywords

Applied Anthropology, Culture, Education, higher education, Mobility, Rural Anthropology

Start Date

4-8-2016 10:30 AM

End Date

4-8-2016 12:00 PM

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Apr 8th, 10:30 AM Apr 8th, 12:00 PM

Appalachian Culture and Higher Education: Cultural Traits that Hinder Academic Success

Big Sandy Conference Center

Appalachia is a region long known as an exception to the economic progress of the United States. Social theorists since the 1960s have attempted to explain persistent poverty with aspects of Appalachian culture in addition to its geographic isolation and undeveloped infrastructure. The geographic isolation has been somewhat ameliorated with new roads and information infrastructure such as the internet, so policy makers are left to explain the persistence of poverty and flagging economic development. One important claim about Appalachian culture is that it fosters a disinterest bordering on hostility to education, especially higher education, and thus Appalachia continues to have low levels of educational attainment. Since globalization has allowed many jobs that do not require college degrees to be moved to regions of the world for which unskilled labor can be paid much lower, the Appalachian labor force remains at a disadvantage. Using surveys of university and high school students, this study finds a constellation of attitudes and perceptions that can be identified with the theorized elements of Appalachian culture that, for a subset of students, work against the focus, sense of self-efficacy, and internal locus of control identified with educational success.