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  • Odd Tribes: Toward a Cultural Analysis of White People

    Author(s): John Hartigan
    Published: 2005
    Pages: 376
    Illustrations: 3 photos, 1 table
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  • 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
  • “Beautifully written, theoretically sophisticated, and passionately iconoclastic, Odd Tribes should be required reading for anyone interested in the study of race and social inequalities. Its difficult lessons—for both liberal academics and antiracist practitioners—need to be absorbed and understood.”—Matt Wray, coeditor of The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness

    “For John Hartigan Jr., race is not a fixed, abstract social fact but a fluid, heterogeneous, situated field of racializing practices. Odd Tribes deftly develops this approach through a series of lively accounts of how lower-class whites have been racialized in ways that simultaneously normalize whiteness. An elegant, fresh, provocative, often surprising, and ultimately hopeful work that argues forcefully for a cultural perspective on racial matters.”—Susan Harding, author of The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics

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  • Description

    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.

    About The Author(s)

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