Acculturation in a community garden: the shifting role of a Hmong garden in eastern Wisconsin

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Sheboygan, Wisconsin is a small midwestern city that is home to a community garden that has been kept by a Hmong immigrant community for more than 30 years. This thesis uses a cultural geographic approach to present an ethnography of Sheboygan’s Hmong community garden. This ethnography addresses convergent knowledge gaps in the literature on immigration in the United States, Hmong studies, and the political ecology of urban commons. It is presented that the interrelated processes of acculturation and neoliberalization have shaped the garden and those who use it. Acculturation is an important determining factor in how members of Sheboygan’s Hmong community perceive the garden and the expansion of neoliberal policy in Sheboygan has been shaped by individuals’ relationships with it. These relationships, as well as power relationships in Sheboygan, are explored in the narrative of an event that led to the garden’s 2015 move.

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