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Critical Studies of Southern Place

A Reader


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 Two: Class Warfare: You’d Better Redneckognize



Class Warfare: You’d Better Redneckognize


Eight-year-old Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson made her first media appearance on season 5, episode 1 of Toddlers and Tiaras, a reality show about child beauty pageants. Featured as one of three families, the Thompson/Shannon clan made an indelible impression, from Mama June, with her aggressive coupon clipping and unconventional pageant coaching style, to stoic redneck Sugar Bear (June’s significant other, who hardly uttered a word), and Anna, June’s pregnant teen daughter. However, the highlight of the segment was Alana, who immediately earned the nickname “Honey Boo Boo” based on one of her catchphrases during the episode. It wasn’t long before the TLC network unveiled a new show in 2012, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, centered on the family and their various situational white trash escapades. The episode titles often come from the family’s catchphrases, such as “I’m Sassified,” “Mo Butter, Mo Better,” and “She Ooo’d Herself.”

Honey Boo Boo is part of a white trash renaissance, the bulk of which is promulgated in the reality TV format (Holmes & Jermyn, 2004; Huff, 2006; Murray & Ouellette, 2009). Redneck culture had been in hibernation mode after experiencing a heyday during the 1990s, with former president Bill Clinton (and his perpetually law-breaking brother Roger), the well-written Roseanne Show, and comedian and best-selling author Jeff Foxworthy among the many notables of the decade (Harkins, 2004). Today, viewers have a range of white trash TV...

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