Essay Sample on Representations of Appalachia

Published: 2023-03-15
Essay Sample on Representations of Appalachia
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  United States Ethnography Social psychology Community
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1879 words
16 min read

Part 1: Representations of Appalachia

The main objective of Scott is to analyze why a significant number of people living in central Appalachia hold with high regard the practice despite it being destructive. He goes ahead to analyze why the act is normal and embraced in the extraction of coal in this particular area. Scott focuses on West Virginia's cultural politics as well as the reason behind the region being the country's zone of sacrifice.Scott further investigates why most West Virginians are subject to the powerful national discourses which makes then unable to question mountain removal mining This article mainly focuses on the makeup and operational perspective of cultural politics in West Virginia as well as the reason behind Appalachia being termed as the nation's "zone of sacrifice".

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The people of Appalachia are requested to sacrifice for their country despite the presence of numerous problems. Although they are thought to be prototypical white rural citizens, they are regarded as still normal Americans. Also, they are both economically and culturally marginalized and are requested to serve national interests that are inconsistent with the well-being of their practices and communities. These myths about the people of Appalachia refer to them as material culture. Additionally, referring the Appalachians as primitive Anglo-Americans also conducts a claim to territory based on ancestral ties, which assume the claims of Native Americans.

The sequence of Appalachians being represented as white display some interesting facts concerning the change and persistence of race and class inequality in the US. Repeating tales about poor whites like hillbillies and white trash mirror the dissonance between ideal images of American citizens and whiteness. Throughout history, poor whites representation has depended on quasi-racializing terms, which hold that physical characteristics like hair or skin color are seen as especially telling. It is likely that "white trash" conducts the same work to the "specter of the fag". Therefore, whiteness can be seen as a fragile identity that has been subjected to risk by lapses of etiquette.

From an environmental perspective, this particular case of Appalachian cultural marginalization is of great interest, especially due to how the people axiomatically identify themselves with the landscape. Scholars from Appalachian have been putting more effort into preventing continuing negative stereotypes concerning the Appalachians. However, traditions have been for a long time glorified the white Appalachians as the ideal rural citizens and Appalachia as a bucolic landscape.

According to the national narratives, the lives of both Jessica Lynch and Lynndie England from West Virginians have been associated with the American war in Iraq. This is depicted by the two sides of the Appalachian whiteness. Their representation in the media shows the demonization and idealization of the Appalachians in American culture. Also, this demonstrates the work there representations perform in making claims on the American national character. Whether this idealization is debased or valorized, the heterogeneity of the life in Appalachia is eliminated in the processes of the Appalachian marginalization. For instance, the word 'Appalachia' is cemented as one who is a hardworking coal miner, the oppressed mountain woman, and the 'rural sodomite'. Also, the backwardness and virtue of an Applachian frequently seen as one with representations of a native American in the national culture. According to Semple, the "Appalachian" was a specific type of Other as their actions are not embarrassing but are gracious and gentle in that getting into a conversation with the is likely to make one forget their ragged clothes and bare feet. In spite of this excellence, Appalachians remained at the mercy of the landscape. For several times, the region's geography is believed to be the source of the issue.

Part 2: Masculinity & Gender And Class And Racial Perceptions


The talk and ideas on 'masculinity as depicted by the 'three figures' in coal mining communities are known to reinforce the notion that coal mining is a dirty job. In most communities, dirty jobs are often associated with men and clean ones are associated with women. When it comes to some discussions like masculinity in communities that depend on coal mining, a significant number maintain that this is among the best economic activity for men. Besides, they make the industry a legit activity, and protect it from critiques by West Virginians. The idea includes discussing the three figures of mining masculinity as well as gender.

The coalfields in the area are in a deplorable situation leading some observers to compare the area with one in third world countries. Such areas can only be workable only by men, given the situation on hand. Furthermore, in West Virginia, the sewage and toilet paper found along streams, ultimately, convenes to human slag. The human slag is often as a result of coal mining activities. Men can only work in such areas as women fear infections and unhygienic situations. Therefore, masculinity is seen to be a key aspect in determining coal mining activity in West Virginia.

The existence of exceptionalism of white Appalachian poverty and the similarity of such areas to the Third World poverty it imitates can only be a reflection of the 'the three figures' as mentioned in the text. The fact that companies are allowed to contribute to such poverty by the government shows the presence of racial prejudices against certain races living within the state

Gender And Class And Racial Perceptions

As it is seen as in the last chapters of the book, through cultural and environmental alchemy, Appalachia keeps its united regional identity in the national imagination as "mountain culture" which applies to both black and European immigrants as well as native white hillbillies. The racial divide and in particular, against European immigrants and blacks is evident and they are depicted to be living in poverty and hence, they cannot undertake their duties well. The mountaintop removal mining is seen as a place that can only be found in third world countries which are majorly a place inhabited by blacks. The mountaintop removal mining can be predicted what is expected as in the opening pattern of the Appalachian Emergency Room. The priority to establish an emergency room reveals that the environment is not safe. Due to this, the fact that the area is depicted to be a place inhabited by blacks, European immigrants, and native white hillbillies, then it is evident that racial prejudices against such persons are present.In Coal Hollow, the residents of the area as seen as the poorest. West Virginia's opposite universe is a place where good homes are constructed and there are good lawns. Also, West Virginia's parallel universe is a place with a good driveway for cars. Essentially, this does not reflect the story of coal. West Virginians is a place where poor residents live and one can mistake the place as a slum or a third world country. Coal camps are seen to house dilapidated houses in which there exist toxic ponds, left out mines, and clear forests. Country mountains are seen to have raw sewage flows and toilet papers are scattered throughout the place, a result of floods. The big cities like Mullins and Welch now do not exist as a result of devastation brought by coal mining within the area. This place houses disabled and aged miners lost generation of people, and widows, a testament of a feasible economy that once existed.

The mining debris left by coal companies reveals that there is a large mass of human slag that was left by the coal miners, a proof of broken people and shattered earth. In speeches and conversations, racial prejudices are also seen to be present. For instance, in the inside cover of the dust jacket of Coal Hollo, it is revealed that both Melanin and Ken, who visited various places and walked for long distances through isolated and rugged paths, recorded stories of people whose lives were were greatly influenced by coal. In public discourses, as indicated by Melanin and Ken, Caudill reported that the coal companies are greedy as they contributed immensely to the generation of poverty in Appalachia.

Part 3: Scott's Ethnography

About the work of Clifford et al., Scott's ethnography tends to respond to some of the questions raised about conventional ethnographic practice and modes of writing in several ways. Clifford et al. argue that French ethnography is concerned with the theory and tends to frequently appear to be more concerned with a certain ethnographic analysis at hand as well as with comparative effort and theory (Clifford et al. 24). Scott's ethnography has agreed on this although as per his ideas, field working anthropology in other traditions disciplines are left much to their ways to create their theories inclining more to perform directly from the works. Scott argues that ethnography tends to be more empirical and not at all theoretical and hence ambitious. Notably, Clifford et al. argue that current ethnographic truths are incomplete, the issue of ethnographic authority, the strategic blueprint of textual representation, and the present situation of an ethnographer in cultural landscapes. However, according to Scott, the assumption between the politics of social change and the poetics of ethnography is problematic given the acceptance of the experimental ethnography. In Recapturing Anthropology, Clifford et al. arguments on ethnography are based on the fact that our daily lives to the larger Western historical field that continues to issue that the circumstance of possibility for the course of study.

Clifford et al. argued that the three sets of politics are concretely and actively intertwined to act in different fields of study to help in designing important anthropology, which is useful in shaping the ethnography of a particular community. Clifford et al. argue that if a project utilized in writing anthropology and culture is used as a cultural critique, then this will help in shaping the literary procedure and epistemological process of representation. As such, the literary process of representation will help in redefining the ethnography of a particular community in a certain period. In Recapturing Anthropology, Clifford et al. argue that the progressive principles used can help in shaping the real world in a more politicized manner leading some to believe in the procedure of "decolonizing" anthropology. For instance, Scott ethnography argues that the arguments passed across when decolonizing anthropology can be useful in redefining why persons living in the Third-World countries as well as those living in the "the west" struggle a lot. Scott further ascertains that the demands that one takes seriously as voiced by anthropologists in third-world countries can help in re-designing ethnography of a community. Due to this, the conventional ethnographic practice can help in shaping the modes of writing in this particular context.

According to Scott's ethnography, next to the feminist and post-modernist claims, one can be able to shape the critical traditions, which are seen to be instituted been in third-world countries. Clifford et al. argued that ethnography views that culture is regarded as organic and hence it can be rationalized to concur with the guidelines of monologic authority, which helps to tie up realist ethnography (Broadhead 235). However, Scott responds to this by arguing that cultural innovation in the daily lives of people is enough in shaping contemporary social movements which are useful in redefining ethnography.

Works Cited

Broadhead, Robert S. "Notes on a cautionary (tall) tale about respondent-driven sampling: A critique of Scott's ethnography." International Journal

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