Post 1: Abstract

People turn to personal narratives when other aspects of identity are weakening as a way to increase a sense of self (Fivush, 2018). To that end, narrative meaning-making has been shown to unlock a deeper, more contextualized layer of personality than simply a person’s traits and lasting goals, which are shaped by the different roles and experiences from participants’ life stories (Booker et al., 2018; Bluck & Habermas, 2001; McAdams, 1995). Particularly, when an individual is able to create meaning from an event that was difficult or jarring, it can serve as a way to solidify their sense of self (Pals, 2006; Habermas & Köber, 2015; Booker et al., 2018). When young adults acknowledge their growth from adversity, they are able to take the time to healthily process events and transgressions that have occurred and move beyond any lasting hardships an event may have created (Baumeister, Stillwell, & Heatherton, 1994; Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004; Pals, 2006; Pasupathi, Staudinger, & Baltes, 2001). It follows that engaging in autobiographical reasoning is a crucial part of reasoning out the life story and creating an identity (Banks & Salmon, 2013).

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Perceptions of Housing Development in Williamsburg, Virginia by Class

This research endeavor aims to extrapolate perceptions of the housing market, rapidly changing land use, and gentrification from interviews with participants from different class backgrounds residing in and around Williamsburg, Virginia. The quickly expanding construction of businesses, apartment complexes, and other for-profit institutions in the greater Williamsburg area is an important backdrop for better understanding how individuals are involved in or excluded from the for-profit land expansion process according to their financial background, yet there is currently a sizable gap in research. This study seeks to explore how and in what ways local residents are impacted by urban development, and attempt to uncover patterns within class groups from interview data which may demonstrate how changing residence or business markets are differentially experienced. By comparing perspective along a class line, more sound conclusions can be drawn regarding community exclusion or inclusion according to income bracket.  Furthermore, the interviews are intended to expose the ways in which class groups differ in their experiences of fluctuating financial landscapes. Interview questions asked of respondents will revolve around their experiences of housing during their time as a Williamsburg resident, how land use has changed over time, the general response of the greater community to such changes, and their more personal impacts. While many previous studies on gentrification and/or land use have pondered the immediate or long-term effects of such vast economic changes, rarely have researchers attempted to gather personal perspectives from residents of non-urban centers and compare such data to that of large cities. The current research will fill this gap while also providing a space for local residents to express how they experience housing and its changes. The data may be applied to future research, both in Williamsburg or similar towns and as an axis of comparison for more populated cities experiencing similar developmental/economic movement.