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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 Twenty-Three: Yes Sir, Yes Ma’am, and the Ritual of Spanking: The Curriculum of Respect in the South



Yes Sir, Yes Ma’am, and the Ritual of Spanking: The Curriculum of Respect in the South


It’s easy to live in the South. People are, for the most part, friendly and trustworthy. Stopping to talk with your neighbors is expected, and you often get a nod of recognition from a passerby on the street and a wave from a stranger in an oncoming car when traveling down a country road. The South is a conservative, Protestant-principled region where evidence of God is everywhere across the landscape and Jesus is unabashedly infused in everyday conversation. Directions are typically given by citing churches as landmarks rather than highway route numbers. Friday nights in the fall are for high school football, whereas Saturdays are reserved for the college men. Preachers and coaches are among the most respected people in the community.

What’s unique about raising children in the South? There is a deep appreciation of fealty to family and tradition in the South. There are many roads named for the families who have lived on them for generations. Children are taught from the outset to be respectful when addressing adults by using appellations such as “ma’am” and “sir,” never by the person’s first name. Saying “yeah,” rather than “yes ma’am” or “yes sir” to a teacher can result in a disciplinary referral in school. Adults insist that children say “excuse me,” “please,” and “thank you...

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