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Constituting a people southern difference and the populist chameleon in American politics /

by 1979- Lee, Michael James

Abstract (Summary)
I argue that the rhetorical phenomenon of the people can be understood productively within the larger framework of populism. Throughout American history, the rhetoric of numerous politicians and activists across the political spectrum has been colored by populist overtones. Despite this rhetorical flexibility, I argue that populism retains an essential rhetorical form. Although I investigate the broader populist phenomenon, I specifically focus on invocations of a distinct Southern people. In order to understand the constitution of a Southern people through this populist form, I analyze two popular Southern texts, The Mind of the South and The South was Right! Each text argues for divergent conceptions of the South. However, a basic assumption of a separate and idealized Southern people informs each book. Understanding these two texts and the broader populist phenomenon yields a more complete understanding of crisis building, identity politics, Southern traditionalism, and rhetorical exclusion.
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School:The University of Georgia

School Location:USA - Georgia

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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