My study explores the role of geography in the construction of cultural identity for place-based communities of practice. I combine recent advances in cultural geography, which focus on the role of cultural traces to culturally order and geographically border a place with recent research on communities of practice, which are communities characterized by a domain focus, an interpretive tradition, and a day-to-day practice. I demonstrate this by exploring the newly constructed town of Ave Maria in the US state of Florida, a community whose domain focus is the day-to-day practice of conservative Catholicism. The study uses a qualitative research methodology to determine the features of the town's landscape that promote the community's domain focus. It uses a quantitative research methodology to investigate the contributions that the spatial configuration of those features makes to the community's cultural identity. An ontology and knowledge base provide a systematic formalization of my qualitative data for subsequent use in quantitative analysis. My results indicate that the cultural ordering and geographical bordering of the community promote a high degree of homogeneity among residents along the community's domain axis. I also conclude with the finding that the community has developed a cultural district whose spatial configuration and location play important roles in the day-to-day lives of its residents.
|Advisor:||Mesev, Victor, Stallins, Jon Anthony|
|Commitee:||Elsner, James B., Horner, Mark W., Laughlin, Karen L.|
|School:||The Florida State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Ave Maria, Communities of practice, Cultural geography, Cultural identity, Cultural traces, Florida, Landscape analysis, Place-based community, Spatial configuration|
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