Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Cheryl Morse

Second Advisor

Meghan Cope

Third Advisor

Alice Fothergill


youth geography, rural studies


Throughout the global north, rural youth are often marginalized within landscapes and in academic literature. Prior research on rural youth often focuses on health access and educational attainment, but topics of rural teenage socio-spatial negotiations, place making tactics, and social groupings remain unexplored. In an attempt to fill this gap, this study examines rural teens in Northern Vermont and inspects how and where these young people create social spaces. The analysis emphasizes participants’ perspectives, beliefs, and experiences in this analysis. Findings suggest that each young person experiences rurality differently. Factors such as a young person’s social identity, class, race, gender, and more can impact their well-being and shape the way they view their community and the greater world. This study found that small, tight-knit rural communities can create an amplified class structure, meaning young peoples’ identity, reputation, and social group is closely tied to their family’s income level. Further, other factors such as varying policing methods, access to the Canadian border, seasonal changes, and the COVID-19 pandemic have merged to create unique social and cultural circumstances that young Northern Vermonters must grapple with. At its core, this research shows that young people in the area lack designated social spaces and need targeted community planning to create more accessible spaces that better meet the needs of all young people. Further research is needed to provide a more robust understanding of rural communities, as each place is unique and has specific needs.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Available for download on Friday, November 22, 2024