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Critical Studies of Southern Place

A Reader

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Edited By William M. Reynolds

Critical Studies of Southern Place: A Reader critically investigates and informs the construction of Southernness, Southern identity, and the South past and present. It promotes and expands the notion of a Southern epistemology. Authors from across the South write about such diverse topics as Southern working-class culture; LGBT issues in the South; Southern music; Southern reality television; race and ethnicity in the South; religion in the South; sports in the South; and Southernness. How do these multiple interpretations of popular culture within critical conceptualizations of place enhance our understandings of education? Critical Studies of Southern Place investigates the connections between the critical examination of place-specific culture and its multiple connections with education and pedagogy. This important book fills a significant gap in the scholarly work on the ramifications of place. Readers will be able to center the importance of place in their own scholarship and cultural work as well as be able to think deeply about how Southern place affects us all.
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Chapter One: The Pedagogic Function of Work(ing-Class) Stories:An Exploration of Culture in the Deep South

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ONE

The Pedagogic Function of Work(ing-Class) Stories: An Exploration of Culture in the Deep South

JENNIFER BEECH

As Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron make clear, from the moment we are born into a certain family, a certain neighborhood, a certain class, race, ethnicity, and so on, our primary pedagogy begins. They write, “Pedagogic action entails pedagogic work, a process of inculcation which must last long enough to produce a durable training, i.e., a habitus, the product of internalization of principles of a cultural arbitrary capable of perpetuating itself after pedagogic action has ceased” (1977/1990, p. 31). This pedagogic work does not often entail our parents’ willful effort to teach us anything race- or class-specific when we are, say, 1 or 2 years old. Nonetheless, the very value and belief systems, the very language that is used around us, the very stories we are told or overhear, begin our implicit education—an education that is either reinforced or contradicted later on by the formal schooling that we encounter. Thus, most of us have internalized our home language(s) and worldviews long before formal schooling or the media or other cultural forces bring us to consciously consider our uses of literacy. Understanding Bourdieu and Passeron’s notion of primary pedagogy is central to understanding the value, even the necessity, of ethnographic explorations of community in order to more fully understand the range of worldviews and literate practices that students from various backgrounds bring to...

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