Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-5-2017

Major Department or Program



Rachel George


It’s a battleground for good taste. It’s a hodgepodge of subject and object position swapping, infinitely extending networks. It’s a paradoxically personal/private as well as glaringly communal/public arena. It’s a stage for gender performance and a place where women can reassert their subjectivity and personhood. In brief, it’s the front yard space as explored in YouTube commercials, home improvement magazines, and sixteen original interviews with Walla Walla homeowners. Front yard spaces are read using three different analytical lenses — namely, by referencing Pierre Bourdieu’s materialist ideas about class and distinction, Bruno Latour’s postmodernist network and node deconstructions of the social sphere, and Carol Rose’s positioning of all property as meta-property (as expectation-laden gifts from the community to individuals). Far from being just a patch of grass and weeds sandwiched between the house and the street, this tome seeks to lay-bare the intensely social nature of the front yard as a product of communal history, nature concepts, ideas of classiness, neighbourly relations, and familial arrangements, and as the partial progenitor and shaper of human spirituality, alliances, anxieties, and routines. The front yard's impact extends well beyond its white picket fence.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Walla Walla (Wash.), Lawns -- Washington (State), gender & American culture, Sex role, Genders -- Identity, Class and culture, Affiliation (Philosophy), Identity (Philosophical concept), Social Stigma -- Class affiliation, Socioeconomic status -- Family socioeconomic level, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2017 Dissertation Collection Anthropology Department

Permanent URL

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

Included in

Anthropology Commons



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