The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture - Vol. 20

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture - Vol. 20

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture - Vol. 20

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture - Vol. 20

Synopsis

This volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture offers a timely, authoritative, and interdisciplinary exploration of issues related to social class in the South from the colonial era to the present. With introductory essays by J. Wayne Flynt and by editors Larry J. Griffin and Peggy G. Hargis, the volume is a comprehensive, stand-alone reference to this complex subject, which underpins the history of the region and shapes its future.
In 58 thematic essays and 103 topical entries, the contributors explore the effects of class on all aspects of life in the South-its role in Indian removal, the Civil War, the New Deal, and the civil rights movement, for example, and how it manifested in religion, sports, country and gospel music, and matters of gender. Artisans and the working class, indentured workers and steelworkers, the Freedman's Bureau and the Knights of Labor are all examined. This volume provides a full investigation of social class in the region and situates class concerns at the center of our understanding of Southern culture.

Excerpt

Social class is one of the fundamental analytical categories for studying southern cultures. Exploring southern society as the context for cultural life is an enduring concern of scholars from such disciplines as sociology, social history anthropology social psychology, and political science, among others, and this volume shows the vital public policy connections to scholarly issues of social class. The topic brings to mind social typologies long associated with the region—elite planters, whether Cavaliers or cotton snobs from the lowlands; sturdy yeomen farmers from the Upcountry; antebellum slaves; textile hands and mill owners; Depression-era black and white sharecroppers; and small-town merchants. The relationship between social class concerns and race relations has been especially central, and many articles herein examine ways supposed racial solidarity has affected social class divisions. Southern society surely offers examples of social orthodoxy working to suppress social conflicts and divisions and to promote a status quo structure. But just as surely, those conflicts and divisions have been deep seated, compellingly expressed at times, and the source of notable reform efforts. The South’s long dominant biracial population, with origins in Western Europe and West Africa, has provided a particular context for the development of social classes in the region, and the recent increased demographic diversity from immigration is providing dramatically different contours for contemporary social class development.

The Social Class volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture looks at macro- and microlevels of social class formation. The overview essay has two parts. The first provides a historical narrative and looks at theoretical frameworks that can inform the larger understanding of class relationships and identities in the South and elsewhere. The second part offers sociological perspectives, outlining broad forces shaping southern social class development and raising issues of social status, mobility, work environments, and agrarian and industrial contexts. The second part draws from rich sources of census and survey data to provide timely contemporary information to supplement the historical grounding of the first part of the overview. Thematic and topical entries provide in-depth information on key historical events, including Bacons Rebellion, Indian removal, the Civil War, the Populist movement, the New Deal, and the civil rights movement. Many of these stories are told elsewhere in New Encyclopedia volumes, but the sharp focus here is on their sig-

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