Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Lynwood Montell, Michael Ann Williams, Barbara Allen

Degree Program

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Using the techniques of oral history, residents of the Cypress Creeks area of southwestern middle Tennessee were questioned about their perceptions of the social change since 1940. In that year, the National Park Service hired men in the area to help snake out logs for the Natchez Trace Parkway's right-of-way. For most men in the area, the temporary positions on the Trace were the first "public" jobs they ever had. After these positions were no longer needed, outmigration brought residents north to factory-cities; thus, the building of the parkway remains a watershed in residents' memories as the benchmark when change began. In this study I examined oral material concerning pre- and post-change periods, to see how social change is articulated in people's talk about changes in social folk custom. Moreover, it was found that residents today regret the sense of loss associated with the "good old days" and that this abstract loss is most easily expressed by talking about the concrete changes in the area's customs.


Anthropology | Arts and Humanities | Folklore | History | Oral History | Public History | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social History | United States History