White Trash: Race and Class in America

ISBN 13: 9780415916929

White Trash: Race and Class in America

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9780415916929: White Trash: Race and Class in America
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First published in 1997. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

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This collection of essays suffers somewhat from occasional appearances in its pages of the plodding and pretentious prose of academia, but despite that fault, these essays on poor white Americans are, in general, quite interesting. To be honest, when the scholars trip over their jargon while explaining why Bubba and Jolene constitute a "debased other," it can be more fun than a free Pabst beer at the monster truck pull. Some essays stand out. Writer Michael Berube's memoir of life in a 1950s trailer park in Bayonne, New Jersey, is well-written and touching; and University of Southern California film professor Constance Penley's disquisition on white trash pornography, entitled "Crackers and Whackers" is bound to raise eyebrows. And Gael Sweeney provides the fitting finale, an essay entitled "The King of White Trash Culture: Elvis Presley and the Aesthetics of Excess."

From the Back Cover:

Poor or marginal whites occupy an uncharted space in recent identity studies, particularly because they do not easily fit the model of whiteness-as-power proposed by many multiculturalist or minority discourses. Associated in mainstream culture with "trashy" kitsch or dangerous pathologies rather than with the material realities of economic life, poor whites are treated as degraded caricatures rather than as real people living in conditions of poverty and disempowerment. White Trash situates the study of poor whites within the context of several academic disciplines, public-policy analysis, and popular or mass-media representations. Arguing that white racism is directed not only against people of color but also against certain groups of whites, the contributors to this volume explore the ways in which race and class in America are often talked about and represented in hidden, coded, or half-realized ways. In so doing, they demonstrate why the term white trash itself embodies yet another way in which some whites generate a debased "other" through pejorative naming practices.

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