Collectively Voting One's Culture

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Virginia Tech


This thesis considers theoretically the institutional nature of culture and its strength as a determinant of political behavior in Southwest Virginia. Beginning with a description of the geography of Southwest Virginia and the demographics of the region's inhabitants, the thesis proceeds to outline the cultural nuances of the region that make it ripe for misunderstanding by the outside world when attempting to explain the cognitive dissonance between voting behavior and regional needs. Then the thesis explores how the culture of the region serves as its own institution that protects itself from outside forces. This phenomenon is explained through an outline of the man-made institutions which have been forged to ensure long-term political power that itself protects the institution of regional culture. Further evidence is presented through voting and demographic data that solidifies the role of culture in determining political behavior.



Southwest Virginia, political behavior, culture