Title

Moonshine, Mountaineers, and Modernity: distilling cultural history in the southern Appalachian mountains

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Publication Title

Journal Of Appalachian Studies

Department

International Political Economy

Abstract

Appalachia is a region richly mythologized in U.S. culture, and in many ways, the moonshiner represents the pinnacle of this imaginary Appalachia. Using Cocke County, Tennessee, as a case study, we explore the ways in which moonshine has historically emerged simultaneously both as a significant cultural referent to the "outside world," and as a vehicle for social integration and cultural reproduction within Appalachia. In particular, we examine the ways in which a strategy of economic livelihood becomes a strategy of cultural reproduction and how the criminalization of the former is inextricably linked to the marginalization of the latter. In the process, we suggest the ways in which moonshining has contributed to the creation of Appalachia as a counterpoint to mainstream U.S. and the modernity that it represents.

Volume

18

Issue

12

pp.

93-112

ISSN

1082-7161

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