Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Adams, Jane


The purpose of this thesis is to understand how the creation of tourist identity and local identity is impacted by the tourist experience and the conscious manipulation of the physical environment for the sake of tourism. The role of tourism in shaping how visitors and local community members create or affirm a sense of self or regional identity is investigated. The history and appeal of the Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri is examined, which illuminates the kinds of places and experiences tourists seek out as part of a process of conscious identity affirmation. Finally, this thesis concerns the perception of and attitude toward the natural environment and how it plays a role not only for recreational purposes, but the development of regional and personal relationships to nature, which in turn play a significant role in the identity formation and affirmation processes.




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