Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Polly McLean

Second Advisor

Bella Mody

Third Advisor

Lori M. Hunter


Rural America is marked by distinct challenges, including a lack of economic, cultural and social opportunities. More and more, the discourse on how to address these issues has looked to expanding access to information communication technologies (ICTs). However the target for new technology--the young, educated population--is precisely the group documented as leaving America's small towns. This case study explores the migration decisions of young adults from Fort Ann, a rural community in upstate New York, and how these choices relate to ICT access and use. The knowledge gap hypothesis and digital divide theory outline the conceptualization of access, where Bourdieu's (1986) three forms of capital are used to understand individual relationships to ICTs and also to frame motivations for migration. Carr and Kefalas' (2009) study and the four migration categories they identify form the backbone of understanding brain drain and guide the development of interview questions. Through interviews with 20 young adults who grew up in Fort Ann and have chosen different migration paths, the connections between ICTs and migration emerge through the nature of underlying social capital resources. This study concludes with a look at the implications that these results may have for Fort Ann and for other rural communities in the United States.