Re-establishing Community Boundaries in Downeast Maine: Understanding the Roles of Ethnicity, Tenure of Residence, Economic & Environmental Conditions


  • Megan Henly University of New Hampshire


Boundary-marking determines not only a community's geographic bounds but also determines who is a member of a community and who is not. This delineation has important implications for access to resources and social stratification. This paper seeks to describe how community boundaries in Washington County, Maine may be contested along lines of ethnicity and immigrant status (both domestic and international) and explores the role of environmental issues and the current economic climate in provoking changes in community boundaries. This paper argues that community membership is correlated not only with tenure of residence but is also a function of ethnicity and class. Data from the 2009 Community and Environment in Rural America (CERA) telephone survey are used to supplement findings from state and federal statistics and contemporary news reports. Keywords: community boundaries, ethnicity, immigrant status, economic climate, environmental conditions

Author Biography

Megan Henly, University of New Hampshire

Megan Henly is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of New Hampshire.