Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Sociology, MA

Committee Chair

Marshall, Gul

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Gagne, Patricia

Committee Member

Gagne, Patricia

Committee Member

Smith, Siobhan

Author's Keywords

Reality Television; Content Analysis; Appalachia; Stereotypes


This analysis examines two contemporary reality television shows set in the Appalachian region of the United States - Appalachian Outlaws and Moonshiners. I contextualized the portrayals by tracing the intertwined social, political and economic factors that influenced the evolution of mediated Appalachian stereotypes since the mid-1800s. Beginning with Cultivation Theory, which holds television to be most powerful and persuasive medium available for most people, I expanded the theoretical base to consider the programs to be part of a complex intertextual phenomenon involving various media. I found stereotypes of the Appalachian region and people to be readily present in both programs, although there were some notable differences in kind and degree. Alongside a rather pronounced hegemonic masculinity, the recurring themes of homogeneity, isolation, an aversion to outsiders, feuding, the inability to join modernity, taking the law into your own hands and, most notably, violence corresponded to well-established Appalachian stereotypes.