Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Rural Sociology


This study of community stratification explores the extent to which there was evidence of differential treatment along class lines in property value appeals. The subjects were 32 community residents. Hollingshead's two-factor index of social position was used to determine class status. Discourse analysis was used to qualitatively assess whether preferential treatment, according to social status, manifested in the dialogue exchanged between appellants (of higher or lower social status) and members of the local appeals board. The appeal process took place at city hall, and was taped to assist in discourse analysis. A follow-up phone survey was administered to all of the appellants to determine social status and assess opinions appellants had concerning the appeal process and outcome. Regardless of social status, the successful appellant is the ideal appellant. The ideal appellant, using the ideal justification, requests that his or her assessed property values be what the property sold for during the most recent year being used to determine the neighborhood's level of assessment Another way for appellants to successfully appeal is to have textual documentation substantiating their reality claims, e.g., realtor's statement of structure/property value, comparable values of neighbors' structure/property similar to their own, and comparable sales of neighbors' structure/property. Discourse analysis reveals that the city commissioners are concerned with treating all appellants equally, thus exhibiting neutral competence.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Discourse analysis Real property -- Valuation Appellate procedure Social status



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University