Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2214-9953
  • E-ISSN: 2214-9961
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


A trend exists in linguistic landscape research to examine urban spaces. Interest in urban spaces is a logical expression of ongoing migratory trends. While such research is helpful in advancing scholarship, there remains a need to examine how rural areas participate in the discursive construction of society. To address the recent urbanization of sociolinguistics, this paper examines how roadside billboards in rural areas of the United States discursively construct homeland messages. Using discourse analysis and drawing from linguistic landscape scholarship, the study explores how billboards draw from banal and sentimental homeland messages to forward a contentious issue, support a political candidate, and imagine a collective American identity. These discourses feed into, and are a part of, a larger network of ideologies that fabricate authentic notions of nationhood. The findings demonstrate that roadside billboards reflect a past time that flattens the cultural diversity of a nation into a static national image.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Anderson, B.
    (2006) Imagined Communities. New York: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Bakhtin, M. M.
    (1981) The Dialogic Imagination (ed. Michael Holquist ). Austin: University of Texas Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bhabha, H.
    (1990) DissemiNation: time, narrative, and the margins of the modern nation. In H. Bhabha (Ed.), Nation and narration (pp.291–322). New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. (1994) The Location of Culture. New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. (1996) Culture’s in-between. In S. Hall & P. du Gay (Eds.), Questions of Cultural Identity (pp.53–60). London: SAGE.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Billig, M.
    (1995) Banal Nationalism. London: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Blommaert, J.
    (2015) Chronotopic identities. Working Papers in Urban Language & Literacies, 170, 1–9.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Carr, E. S. , & Lempert, M.
    (2016) Scale: Discourse and dimensions of social life. Oakland: University of California Press.10.1525/luminos.15
    https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.15 [Google Scholar]
  9. Dillon, M. , & Henly, M.
    (2008) Religion, politics, and the environment in rural America. Carsey Institute Issue Brief3.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Geertz, C.
    (1980) Negara: The Theatre state in 19th century Bali. Princeton University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Goffman, E.
    (1986) Frame Analysis. Boston: Northeastern University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Gorter, D.
    (2013) Linguistic landscapes in a multilingual world. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 33, 190–212. doi: 10.1017/S0267190513000020
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0267190513000020 [Google Scholar]
  13. Hachimi, A.
    (2012) The urban and the urbane: Identities, language ideologies, and Arabic dialects in Morocco. Language in Society, 41, 321–341. doi: 10.1017/S0047404512000279
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404512000279 [Google Scholar]
  14. Housing Assistance Council
    Housing Assistance Council (2012) Race & Ethnicity in Rural America. Washington, DC: HAC.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Jameson, F.
    (1986) Third-world literature in the era of multinational capitalism. Social Text, 15, 65–88. doi: 10.2307/466493
    https://doi.org/10.2307/466493 [Google Scholar]
  16. (1991) Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham: Duke University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Johnson, K.
    (2006) Demographic trends in rural and small town America. Carsey Institute Reports on Rural America1.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Keane, W.
    (2003) Semiotic and the social analysis of material things. Language & Communication, 23, 409–425. doi: 10.1016/S0271‑5309(03)00010‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0271-5309(03)00010-7 [Google Scholar]
  19. Kress, G. R. , & van Leeuwen, T.
    (2006) Reading Images: The grammar of visual design. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Laitinen, M.
    (2014) 630 kilometres by bicycle: observations of English in urban and rural Finland. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 228, 55–77.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Llamas, C.
    (2007) “A place between places”: Language and identities in a border town. Language in Society, 36, 579–604. doi: 10.1017/S0047404507070455
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404507070455 [Google Scholar]
  22. Modan, G. G.
    (2007) Turf wars: Discourse, diversity, and the politics of place. Malden: Blackwell Publishing. doi: 10.1002/9780470773970
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470773970 [Google Scholar]
  23. Muth, S.
    (2015) Ruralscapes in post‐Soviet Transnistria: Ideology and language use on the fringes of a contested space. In Zabrodskaja, A. & M. Laitinen (Eds.), Dimensions of Linguistic Landscapes in Europe: Materials and methodological solutions (pp.199–232). Frankfurt am Main: Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Mutsaers, P. , & Swanenberg, J.
    (2013) Super-diversity at the margins? Youth language in North Brabant, The Netherlands. Sociolinguistic Studies, 6, 56–89.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Olson, L. R. , & Warber, A. L.
    (2008) Belonging, behaving, and believing: Assessing the role of religion on presidential approval. Political Research Quarterly, 61, 192–204. doi: 10.1177/1065912907313075
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912907313075 [Google Scholar]
  26. Pinder, S. O.
    (2010) The Politics of Race and Ethnicity in the United States: Americanization, de-Americanization, and racialized ethnic groups. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1057/9780230106697
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230106697 [Google Scholar]
  27. Rampton, B.
    (2006) Language in Late Modernity: Interaction in an urban school. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511486722
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511486722 [Google Scholar]
  28. RA4C
    RA4C (2017) Reclaiming American for Christ. reclaimamericaforchrist.org/about-us/.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Ratcliffe, M. , Burd, C. , Holder, K. , & Fields, A.
    (2016) Defining rural at the U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey and Geography BriefACSGEO-1.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Scollon, R. , & Scollon, S. W.
    (2003) Discourses in Place: Language in the material world. New York: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203422724
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203422724 [Google Scholar]
  31. United States Department of Agriculture
    United States Department of Agriculture (2014) Farm demographics: U.S. farmers by gender, age, race, ethnicity, and more. National Agriculture Statistics ServiceACH12–3/May 2014.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. United States Department of Agriculture
    United States Department of Agriculture (2016) Rural America at a glance. Economic Information Bulletin162.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. van Dijk, T. A.
    (2008) Elite Discourses and Racism. London: SAGE.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Vertovec, S.
    (2007) Super-diversity and its implications. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30, 1024–1054. doi: 10.1080/01419870701599465
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870701599465 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Americanness; billboards; national identity; ruralscapes
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error