Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Michael Samers


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.