Professor Stephen Bargdill
15 April 2015
People shaping towns
When you tell someone where you are from don’t they always jump to a quick conclusion on what your identity is? The quote by Friedrich Nietzsche couldn’t have said it any better, “All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” This is true in that power, society, often shapes your thought that where you live is who you are. People are often identified by how someone interprets them to be often based on where they are from. However this is far from the truth their identity not only shows who they are but often times shapes the identity of a town, city or state. When broken down into the two different sentences, we can relate this quote to the concepts which states and cities have a special name to them based off of the people whom reside there, their skin color, and how many technological advancements they have. People aren’t conceiving things for what they truly are however, judging them based on looks, where they come from and what they have.
Even when taking a look at small towns, the people within the town identify the town for what it is. I do see how in some cases it could be mistaken that the people living in the town have that identity because they grew up in that town, but that’s not always the case. The physical environment of the town can limit on what the town people do thus giving it an identity. Such as if you’re living in a desert you aren’t going to own a surf shop and sell surf boards thus somewhat shaping the identity of the people. However the town may be shaping the identity in most cases, but in some cases, the identity is formed by the person themselves. What interests them, what they like to do, this isn’t always shaped by the town, but shaped by many different things. It’s up to the person to find the town that has people within it that hold the same identity as them. This is why lots of kids are leaving their small home towns. To find somewhere that better fits them. For example you wouldn’t move to the coast of California If you didn’t like beaches. You wouldn’t move to Wyoming if you didn’t like forests, mountains and wildlife. Those types of identities are true and can shape people to an extent.
A lot of times people are placed identities based on the state that they came from or grew up it. However that is all a miss conception to interpretation of the person. The first part of the quote, “All things are subject to interpretation,” this can be viewed in Patrick J. Carr and Maria Kefalas, both associate professors in psychology, concepts from their paragraph The Heartland and the Rural Youth Exodus from the novel Hollowing Out in the Middle. That is, people are leaving their small towns based on their identity and the identity that a big town withholds. The promises it has, the luxuries it has, states and towns are being identified based on the businesses they have or the companies that reside there. However is the town identifying the people or are the people identifying the town. As Carr and Kefalas said, “During the 1900’s the rise of Richard Flordia’s “creative class” –educated and entrepreneurial cultural consumers and producers – and the infusions of human capital they brought with them injected cities such as Austin and Phoenix with a potent booster shot.” (15) With that, Carr and Kefalas are saying that people who grew up in that town aren’t necessarily the people who gave it its identity, but the identity of a type of person moving to these towns is what placed the identity upon the town. This ties back with the quote that “all things are subject to interpretation” because these towns are being interpreted by the identities of the people living there, the town itself isn’t shaping the identity of the people. There are plenty of people who grew up in Wyoming who don’t hunt even though there