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Leading up to and since the 2016 presidential election, a recurring theme focusing on poor whites’ role in carrying the Republican nominee to victory gained further credence with the popularity and wide readership of J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. Peddling stereotypes of Appalachia as a white dystopia with a backward mountain culture, the memoir seemingly turned the use of culture-of-poverty arguments on whites themselves.
A growing body of research in sociology uses the concept of cultural schemas to explain how culture influences beliefs and actions. However, this work often relies on belief or attitude measures gleaned from survey data as indicators of schemas, failing to measure the cognitive associations that constitute schemas. In this article, we propose a concept-association-based approach for collecting data about individuals’ schematic associations, and a corresponding method for modeling concept network representations of shared cultural schemas.