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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter establishes how class is a key category of analysis for country music studies because the genre is still symbolically associated with a southern white working-class audience and milieu and shares much in common with long-running thematic traditions in country music, even though audiences have always been broader. Through case studies about Johnny Cash as well as about Dolly Parton and the hillbilly trope, the chapter demonstrates the importance of discussing class in relation to gender and race in the genre. Class themes in country music can be multivalent. The chapter also links class to the genre’s regional folk culture roots and details the relevance of the blurred, arbitrary categories of folk culture and mass culture to country music.

Keywords: mountain girl, folk culture, mass culture, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, hillbilly trope

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