Fried Chicken, Gentility, Sweet Tea and Bibles: How Do You Define Southern Culture?

Being a Yankee transplant to the south from several years ago, I have been enjoying the extended ethnographic experience I have had as a participant observer of Southern culture. Although I live in a fairly “big city” metro area, the southern charm doesn’t get lost in the urban settings. At least the denizens of this hot bit-little town would like to think so. Despite the hustle and bustle of urban life, the sprawl remains true to its southern roots and you see that influence in the local culture every day.

I would like to thank Atlanta Magazine’s November issue (“The Southern Issue) for today’s inspiration and a wealth of consolidated observations and insights about the cultural rituals and artifacts that characterize southern culture.

Things like:

  • cotillion: a coming of age ritual for young gentile southerners to show off their manners and introduce themselves to “society”
  • college football
  • biscuits and gravy
  • Mint Juleps
  • seersucker suits
  • bow ties
  • church on sunday
  • fried chicken
  • moonshine
  • civil rights struggles
  • The Ku Klux Klan
  • mason jars
  • magnolia trees
  • Bacon
  • working knowledge of The War of Northern Aggression (otherwise known as the Civil War)
  • Hillbillies, Crackers, Rednecks and White Trash
  • Gentility
  • Rap Music
  • Jazz Music
  • Gone With The Wind
  • Haunted cemeteries

It’s interesting the cultural shifts and themes you see from one region to the next. But the south definitely has its own distinct charm. And although I am slowly becoming a denizen (and have been a fan for years) of this land south of the Mason-Dixon, I am certain I have quite a ways to go on becoming truly one of the “Southern” Fold.

Atlanta Magazine has a fun Southern IQ quiz in this month’s issue, but sadly it is not available online. I would check out the November issue once its’ up online at or grab a copy if you happen to be in the distribution zone.

But if not, here is a link to a fun quiz to help you test your own southern cred…and maybe learn a think or two about how “we” roll down herrrrrr:

Categories: Anthropology, Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Ethnography, Food, pop culture, Rituals, southern culture, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Fried Chicken, Gentility, Sweet Tea and Bibles: How Do You Define Southern Culture?

  1. Today, I went to the beach with my children.

    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said
    “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed
    the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit
    crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
    LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

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