ERIC Number: ED359017
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Social Construction of Reality: How It Compels Action.
Verburg, John L.
This paper traces the history of two mission projects and associated schools in rural Kentucky and examines how the missionaries' social constructions of reality with regard to Appalachia determined their actions. The two mission projects studied were Red Bird Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Church and Hazel Green Academy of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Data were collected from interviews with project administrators, published autobiographical statements, institutional records archived at Berea College, and interviews with persons living within the Red Bird service area. Hazel Green Academy was established as an elementary and high school in 1880 and was converted into a high school in the 1930s. Other projects developed but were discontinued. In 1982, facing a large deficit, the academy closed. Red Bird Mission started as a school in the 1920s in conjunction with the local board of education. Today it operates an independent elementary and high school, a medical and dental clinic, a used clothing store, a large craft-cottage industry, and an ambulance service, and oversees 27 churches and outreach centers in 7 Kentucky counties. Hazel Green Academy, founded before Appalachia had been named, never adopted the notion of "otherness" that many who have worked in the area still use today. In contrast, the notion of a "peculiar people" and a region apart has been inherent throughout the history of Red Bird. The most suitable explanation for the differences in these two church programs is found in their vastly different constructions of the definition of Appalachia. Hazel Green saw this area as "isolated rural communities," while Red Bird viewed this area as "a unique culture: hillbillies." These definitions predisposed each institution's respective actions throughout its history and influenced its growth or lack of it. (LP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky