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Consuming IdentityThe Role of Food in Redefining the South$
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Ashli Quesinberry Stokes and Wendy Atkins-Sayre

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496809186

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496809186.001.0001

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Turf Tussle

Turf Tussle

Uniting through North Carolina Barbecue

(p.103) Chapter Four Turf Tussle
Consuming Identity

Ashli Que Sinberry Stokes

Wendy Atkins-Sayre

University Press of Mississippi

Chapter four examines how barbecue is a Southern cultural institution that sends rhetorical messages about Southern history, gender, race, class, ritual, and fellowship. Barbecue is a type of cultural synecdoche that continues to bring different types of people together, telling stories that simultaneously shape and express contemporary Southern identity. If Southern food helps shape identity, barbecue provides a perfect example of this process because its rhetoric and ritual incites profound identification with regional styles. Tussling about which barbecue is best engages identity forming behavior that serves a rhetorical purpose in gradually knitting groups of people together over their shared love of a particular food tradition. Barbecue conveys identificatory messages of authenticity, masculinity, and rurality, stretching casuistically to still be descriptive of the South’s character. The chapter explores how (and whether) perceptions of traditional Southern foods like barbecue stretch to broaden and deepen the narrative about Southern food.

Keywords:   Barbecue, Identification, Authenticity, Masculinity, Rurality

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