Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Kaufmann

Committee Chair Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Member 2

David Cochran

Committee Member 2 Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 3

Bridget Hayden

Committee Member 3 Department

Anthropology and Sociology


Through a case study in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, this research explores the need for cultural competence in urban economic development of neighborhoods. I place at the forefront the need for a collective community voice in the discussions and negotiations of future development, and argue that a lack of that voice has contributed to stunted economic growth.

In addition, through this case study I demonstrate that there may be systems in place intended to "solve" the problem of economic underdevelopment, but in reality only perpetuate the lack of economic growth. In this case, a reliance on the local bus system has made it more difficult for development to occur in the area where it is needed most.