Abstract

This research applies mixed-methods, community-based approaches, and critical sociological and geographic theory to better understand the social and environmental impacts of tourism-driven development in the data-scarce region of Hopkins Village, Belize. Hopkins Village is a small coastal community that is home to a seasonally variable population of 3,000 residents. Belize has been undergoing an economic shift from traditional subsistence-based activities such as fishing and agriculture to a primary service and tourism-based economy; over the past decade, an influx of visitors, immigrants, and foreign investors has resulted in Belize's coastal districts' rapid development. This work combines four years of geospatial data with results from 50 semi-structured interviews collected in the summer of 2018 in Hopkins Village, Belize. This research uses qualitative sociological methods, Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS) techniques, and geospatial data analysis to better understand the geographic and sociological concept known as sense of place (SOP). SOP examines human responses to the built environment in the form of place attachment (positive or negative emotional connection to a spatial setting), place identity (spatially linked beliefs about self), and place dependence (behavior or functional attachment). Geospatially linked data about place attachment, perceived community boundaries, and local development perceptions were analyzed using inductive, interpretive methods, coding strategies, and geospatial analyses. The results of this research indicate that the domains of measurement used were not only effective in understanding respondents' attitudes about places in Hopkins Village but in the interpretation of collective attitudes about places and spaces of shared meaning amid the changing landscape.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2020

Semester

Fall

Advisor

Hawthorne, Timothy

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Sociology

Degree Program

Sociology

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0008329; DP0023766

Language

English

Release Date

December 2025

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

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