Department Chair or Program Director
Bachelor of Arts
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Place relates to the concept that a particular space can have certain features which make it recognizable and which can inspire an emotional attachment. Placelessness refers to the eradication of unique features, stripping away elements that make one place different from another. Cracker Barrel exists as simultaneously placeless and placefull, putting both of these elements, which at first seem like opposites, to work bringing millions of people back in time to 19th century rural America every time they walk through the door. This research explores this paradoxical notion by utilizing content and semiotic analyses in an analysis of user-generated Yelp! photos Cracker Barrels across the country create a strong sense of place through the use of theming. The homogeneity of its architecture and décor at the same time positions it as a placeless place. The sheer number and wide variety of artifacts vary little from store to store. Together, this uniformity and intentional theming help successfully create a sense of place for Cracker Barrel stores as a rural American, 19th century “home-away-from-home.”
Gregory, Meredith, "The Paradox of Cracker Barrel: A Case Study on Place and Placelessness" (2018). Student Research Submissions. 257.