Odd Tribes: Toward a Cultural Analysis of White People
Odd Tribes: Toward a Cultural Analysis of White People

Odd Tribes: Toward a Cultural Analysis of White People

by John Hartigan Jr.

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Overview


Odd Tribes challenges theories of whiteness and critical race studies by examining the tangles of privilege, debasement, power, and stigma that constitute white identity. Considering the relation of phantasmatic cultural forms such as the racial stereotype “white trash” to the actual social conditions of poor whites, John Hartigan Jr. generates new insights into the ways that race, class, and gender are fundamentally interconnected. By tracing the historical interplay of stereotypes, popular cultural representations, and the social sciences’ objectifications of poverty, Hartigan demonstrates how constructions of whiteness continually depend on the vigilant maintenance of class and gender decorums.

Odd Tribes engages debates in history, anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies over how race matters. Hartigan tracks the spread of “white trash” from an epithet used only in the South prior to the Civil War to one invoked throughout the country by the early twentieth century. He also recounts how the cultural figure of “white trash” influenced academic and popular writings on the urban poor from the 1880s through the 1990s. Hartigan’s critical reading of the historical uses of degrading images of poor whites to ratify lines of color in this country culminates in an analysis of how contemporary performers such as Eminem and Roseanne Barr challenge stereotypical representations of “white trash” by claiming the identity as their own. Odd Tribes presents a compelling vision of what cultural studies can be when diverse research methodologies and conceptual frameworks are brought to bear on pressing social issues.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822335849
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
Publication date: 11/14/2005
Pages: 376
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

John Hartigan Jr. is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part I

1. Picturing the Underclass: Myth Making in the Inner City 33

2. Blood Will Tell: The Nationalization of White Trash 59

3. Unpopular Culture: The Case of White Trash 109

4. Reading Trash: Deliverance and the Cultural Poetics of White Trash 135

5. Talking Trash: White Poverty and Marked Forms of Whiteness 147

6. Green Ghettos and the White Underclass 167

Part II

7. Establishing the Fact of Whiteness 187

8. Locating White Detroit 205

9. Object Lessons in Whiteness: Antiracism and the Study of White Folks 231

10. Cultural Analysis: The Case of Race 257

Notes 289

Reference 327

Index 355

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