Research on the Political Geography of the South, 1980-2005

By Webster, Gerald R.; Bowman, Jerrod et al. | Southeastern Geographer, May 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Research on the Political Geography of the South, 1980-2005


Webster, Gerald R., Bowman, Jerrod, Mcgowin, Daniel, Robinson, Heath, Southeastern Geographer


The American South has undergone tremendous change in the past quarter century. No where is this change more apparent than on the region's political landscape. Today minority voters are participating at all levels in the South's political processes. The region has also continued its movement from the Democratic to Republican parties. Have these changes received adequate attention in the political geography literature? This paper attempts to identify all articles, book chapters and books on the political geography of the South published in the past quarter century. It finds that there has been a significant increase in the rate of published work on the region's changing political landscape, and that these efforts have appeared in a wide array of outlets. The paper concludes by identifying areas in which additional work would be helpful to fully understanding the South's political landscape.

KEY WORDS: political geography, American South

INTRODUCTION

The American South has witnessed dramatic demographic, social, economic, and political change during the past quarter century. In demographic terms, the region has experienced substantial population change due to the in-migration of Hispanics and Asians, most particularly to states such as North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Socially the region has been the scene of an increased aggressiveness by religious leaders and bodies over issues such as abortion, gay and lesbian rights, and the secular character of the public schools. The traditional issue of race was recently thrust back into the regional and national spotlight due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, and the dramatic film footage of poor and largely African American families trapped at the Louisiana Superdome. Economically the region has simultaneously witnessed an out-migration of thousands of low-skill and low-wage jobs including those associated with textiles along with smaller but significant increases in more highly skilled employment as corporations such as Mercedes, Hyundai and Boeing have moved manufacturing plants to the region.

Arguably no aspect of life in the South has experienced more change than those evident on its political landscape. With very few exceptions, nearly every state in the region is now a consistent supporter of the Republican Party in presidential elections. The region's congressional delegations have increasingly become part of the Republican majority in both the House and the Senate, with much of the GOP's leadership hailing from the South. The majority of remaining Democratic House members from the South represent majority African American districts. At the state level, Republicans occupy a majority of the region's governorships, and dominate an increasing number of state legislatures. In those few states in which Democrats continue to dominate the legislature, such as Alabama, their majorities are comprised of potentially volatile coalitions of moderate to conservative white, and liberal to moderate African American legislators which are subject to schisms on a host of issues from public school funding to the focus of economic development efforts.

PURPOSE

The purpose of this paper is to provide a status report on published research on the political geography of the South during the past quarter century. Have political geographers responded in their research agendas to the tremendous political changes experienced in the region? If so, what topics have received attention and which need added focus? What are the principal outlets for their work? And who are the primary contributors to the literature on the political geography of the South? We provide an overview of what has been done on the political geography of the region since 1980, and attempt to provide suggestions for topics that have received insufficient attention by geographers generally, and political geographers in particular.

METHODS

A central purpose of this effort was to identify all published work pertaining to the political geography of the South from 1980 to the present.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Research on the Political Geography of the South, 1980-2005
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?