Overlooked: Dominant Ideology, Limestone County, Alabama Newspapers, and TVA Family Relocation, 1934-1936
Type of DegreeThesis
Communication and Journalism
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The Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA’s) construction of Wheeler Dam necessitated the flooding of 52,000 acres of land in Lauderdale, Limestone and Morgan counties in north Alabama. TVA purchased this land from the 835 families who owned it, but still had to ensure that the families who lived there relocated to other areas before the reservoir was created. TVA sent case workers to collect information about the families, made up of lower class individuals, and ensure that they moved away from flood zones. Despite the benefits TVA promised the region, some families were upset about moving and encountered hardships as a result of relocation. However, while relocation was taking place, the two Limestone County newspapers, the Alabama Courier and the Limestone Democrat reported overwhelmingly positive information about TVA and communicated little about relocated families. This thesis explores family relocation from a cultural history and communication perspective, concluding that the omission of information about relocated families was the result of the upper classes maintaining ideological hegemony over the lower classes, political economy of the newspapers, and the lower classes believing the dominant ideology to the point that they participated in their own oppression.