Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Marybeth C. Stalp


In this research I investigate how our increasingly technological society is changing the lives and culture of hobos. Hobos are traditionally viewed as migratory workers who ride trains to travel to different jobs, and who were in the greatest abundance during the Great Depression. In the 1950s and 60s, impacted by the popularity of Kerouac's novel, On the Road, hobos began to incorporate the beat movement's love of freedom and poetry as a part of their culture. Most recently, hobo ideology can be found in anti-consumer and "simple living" communities. Conducting ethnographic research at the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa, I used several qualitative research methodologies in order to explore the authenticity of modern hobo communities. In our post-industrial society, due largely to new technological innovation, it is impossible to be an "authentic" hobo.

Year of Submission



Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (64 pages)