The (loess) hills: power and democracy in a "new" landform

dc.contributor.advisor Michael M. Bell Petrzelka, Peggy
dc.contributor.department Sociology 2018-08-23T13:22:54.000 2020-06-30T07:22:15Z 2020-06-30T07:22:15Z Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1999 1999
dc.description.abstract <p>In the 1970's a new landform appeared in western Iowa---the "Loess Hills." The hills were there before, but scientists, primarily geologists, were the first to give these landscape features this specific name and document their boundaries. These hills, said the scientists, are significant because they are one of only a few landforms in the world made wholly of wind-blown glacial deposits, called loess, which were left after the last ice age ended millennia ago. Until the late 1980's and early 1990's, most residents in the area called the area "the bluffs" or "the hills." Yet use of the new name is on the increase with each year;The primary goal of my research was to study this collective space called the Loess Hills, searching an answer to the question: When proclamations are made by natural scientists and the constitution of a place occurs, what are the social consequences? With the new name---a purely scientific name---a new array of social dynamics has emerged within the area. Identifying these dynamics, and the larger social processes which have occurred during and with this name change, are the principal issues I examine, using ethnographic research;The principal dynamics stem from the interactions between external actors (scientists, journalists, tourists, and the State) and the residents of the region. Issues of power and democracy have emerged from these interactions. Residents are now grappling with the scientific facts surrounding the hills. A change in collective identity, from "hill people" to "Hill People" has also arisen. There is an increased identification and pride now associated with the landform. Tension over "ownership" of the landform has resulted in redrawing and establishment of social boundaries---boundaries which were not there (nor were they a question) before the name "Loess Hills" was taken on. Particularly significant in this work is the role of power, science, and the interplay of internal and external definitions in the social shaping of the hills, and the implications of this interplay for democracy.</p>
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.identifier archive/
dc.identifier.articleid 13600
dc.identifier.contextkey 6807890
dc.identifier.s3bucket isulib-bepress-aws-west
dc.identifier.submissionpath rtd/12601
dc.language.iso en
dc.source.bitstream archive/|||Fri Jan 14 19:25:54 UTC 2022
dc.subject.disciplines Geography
dc.subject.disciplines Geology
dc.subject.disciplines Sociology
dc.subject.keywords Sociology
dc.title The (loess) hills: power and democracy in a "new" landform
dc.type article
dc.type.genre dissertation
dspace.entity.type Publication
relation.isOrgUnitOfPublication 84d83d09-42ff-424d-80f2-a35244368443 dissertation Doctor of Philosophy
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