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Authors

Ball

Abstract

The Appalachian Region, particularly Southern Appalachia, has lived through several hundred years of frustration related to its history and geography. The history of the area has become better known during recent years, and it is a history of documented exploitation and socioeconomic disillusionment, a "biography of a depressed area" (Caudill, 1962). Geographically, the region has been regarded essentially as a barrier between the settled East and the fertile lands of the West, a place of rugged terrain and harsh conditions of life. This history and geography have played a large part in the problems which now afflict region and which impede social change. It will be possible to plan wisely for the region only when these factors have been understood and when the goals of current social policy toward Appalachia have been reexamined. Since the deepest problems of socioeconomic development are frequently motivational (McCelland, 1961), having to do with modal forms of personality organization which are in turn rooted in the culture, and since a culture may be seen as a response to a set of environmental problems, perhaps it is best to begin with an analysis of the effect of the historical and geographic problems posed by the area and the cultural patterns which have generated in response to these problems.

It is apparent that the motivational structure characteristic of the Southern Appalachian folk subculture is quite different from that prevailing in the United States generally, so different that Weller (1965) has regarded the adherents of this "folk culture" as "yesterday's people." Their motivational structure constitutes both a problem and a possible solution. The basic problem here can be understood in terms of a distinction between "motivation-instigated" and "frustrationinstigated" behavior. Such an understanding might do much to change our definition of the problems of the region, the means of solution, and even the goals of the planning process.

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