Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department/School/Program

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Michael Samers

Abstract

This dissertation examines alternative economic practices and regional economic development strategies in the Appalachian region. First, I deconstruct regional economic development policies and practices. I argue that policy documents produced by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the State of Kentucky have often limited economic imaginings through the perpetuation of regional stereotypes and short-term, decontextualized strategies. Then, I explore the existence of alternative economic practices as well as the contradictory role of the state within the context of Eastern Kentucky’s craft industry. Using a mixed methods approach, I investigate how the state simultaneously supports cooperative craft production by perpetuating a geographical lore pertaining to crafts produced in the State of Kentucky, and yet fosters a discourse of self-sufficiency via entrepreneurial workshops that often alienate cooperative craft producers. Finally, I highlight alternatives that have emerged in this industry in an effort to document economic diversity and redefine development.

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