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Author Ferrence, Matthew J., author

Title All-American redneck : variations on an icon, from James Fenimore Cooper to the Dixie Chicks / Matthew J. Ferrence
Edition First edition
Published Knoxville : The University of Tennessee Press, [2014]
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xiv, 191 pages)
Contents Introduction: Rednecks among us -- pt. 1. Redneck roots. Foundations -- Redneck geography -- pt. 2. Redneck unrooted. America's new redneck -- The masculine redneck -- The working-class redneck -- The minority redneck -- pt. 3. Redneck routing. Simulated redneck space -- Rednecks for president -- Redneck women -- pt. 4. Redneck resistance. Rednecks writing back -- The redneck academic -- The imposition of identity
Summary In contemporary culture, the stereotypical trappings of "redneckism" have been appropriated for everything from movies like Smokey and the Bandit to comedy acts like Larry the Cable Guy. Even a recent president, George W. Bush, shunned his patrician pedigree in favor of cowboy "authenticity" to appeal to voters. Whether identified with hard work and patriotism or with narrow-minded bigotry, the Redneck and its variants have become firmly established in American narrative consciousness. This provocative book traces the emergence of the faux-Redneck within the context of literary and cultural studies. Examining the icon's foundations in James Fenimore Cooper's Natty Bumppo--"an ideal white man, free of the boundaries of civilization"--And the degraded rural poor of Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road, Matthew Ferrence shows how Redneck stereotypes were further extended in Deliverance, both the novel and the film, and in a popular cycle of movies starring Burt Reynolds in the 1970s and '80s, among other manifestations. As a contemporary cultural figure, the author argues, the Redneck represents no one in particular but offers a model of behavior and ideals for many. Most important, it has become a tool--reductive, confining, and (sometimes, almost) liberating--by which elite forces gather and maintain social and economic power. Those defying its boundaries, as the Dixie Chicks did when they criticized President Bush and the Iraq invasion, have done so at their own peril. Ferrence contends that a refocus of attention to the complex realities depicted in the writings of such authors as Silas House, Fred Chappell, Janisse Ray, and Trudier Harris can help dislodge persistent stereotypes and encourage more nuanced understandings of regional identity. In a cultural moment when so-called Reality Television has turned again toward popular images of rural Americans (as in, for example, Duck Dynasty and Moonshiners), All- American Redneck reveals the way in which such images have long been manipulated for particular social goals, almost always as a means to solidify the position of the powerful at the expense of the regional. Matthew J. Ferrence is an assistant professor of English at Allegheny College
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 175-186) and index
Notes Print version record
Subject American literature -- History and criticism.
Rednecks in literature.
Rednecks in popular culture.
Genre/Form Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 1322067600
1621900746 (electronic bk.)
9781621900740 (electronic bk.)