Advisor(s) - Committee Chair
Lynwood Montell, Michael Ann Williams, Barbara Allen
Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology
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
Berry, Chad, "Folk Custom as a Barometer of Social Change in a Tennessee Community" (1988). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 2146.