Everyday speech in an extraordinary time: constructing civic agency, identity, and influence in narratives of a small town's big decision

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Smith, Anita J.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Sociology
This research project takes place in rural Southern Alberta whereby the residents of the small-town of Fort Macleod and surrounding rural area experienced nine years of civic development opportunity regarding a Police Training College that was bid on, won and subsequently cancelled. The purpose of my thesis is to contextualize and understand speech in every day communicative practices and how these speech acts generate discourse that create and re-create social agency in discussions and definitions of contentious civic issues. Elements of a qualitative case study approach was used to analyze data gathered from semi-structured interviews and text documents such as newspaper articles and government documents. Through the application of theory and reflection on the process of academic research the results provide a descriptive explanation and interpretation of how rural and small-town people actively form and define themselves and each other as rural subjects. The researcher is included, not as an interviewee, but as a rural resident who also experienced the turmoil of this civic development venture.
Rural , Small town , Community , Civic agency , Civic issues