Narrative as Vernacular Rhetoric: Understanding Community Among Transients, Tourists and Locals

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This article suggests that by analyzing vernacular narratives of a community through a qualitative rhetoric approach, we can attempt to understand the social construction of community in unique ways. Vernacular narratives often operate independent of, and even in opposition to, formal definitions put forward in official rhetorics about a particular community. I analyze a collection of vernacular narratives about a Rocky Mountain resort community to explore how a particular group of "locals" make sense of their highly transient community. By discussing how narratives of personal experience can translate into both collective conceptions of community and individual processes of identification, I seek to reveal how both vernacular and formal narratives of community formation can expose and reveal the taken-for-granted ways in which a particular "community" may (in)advertently be open (or closed) to changing as its members change.

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