Date of Award

Fall 12-11-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Katie Acosta

Second Advisor

Wendy Simonds

Third Advisor

Rosalind Chou

Abstract

Summer camps are an important part of U.S culture. 11 million children attend summer camp in the U.S.A each year. Yet, little work has been done to explore the cultural phenomenon of summer camp. At summer camps, there are many implicit and explicit norms regarding sexuality and gender. These norms, in turn, have larger implications for understanding children's development of self, their gender identity, and sexuality. I study summer camp culture at Camp Delaware by interviewing former campers (often referred to as ex-campers) about their experiences. I investigate how summer camp culture both reconstructs and reifies social norms, particularly those surrounding gender and sexuality. Summer camps are an under-researched, yet highly important part of U.S culture. It is important we begin to understand how gender and sexuality function in these spaces, so we can replicate the positive effects and work to overcome the negative outcomes of such a unique locale.

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