Title

Social identity in the American South: Mardi Gras Societies in Coastal Mississippi and Alabama

Publication Title

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research

Publication Date

2008

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1108/17506180810880728

Keywords

united states of america, tourism, collectivism, culture, festivals, myths

Disciplines

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Marketing | Other Business | Social and Cultural Anthropology

Abstract

Purpose

– The purpose of this paper is to examine the subculture of Southern Mardi Gras society in coastal Mississippi and Alabama.

Design/methodology/approach

– Participant observation was used to explore the subculture as well as depth interviews with 42 informants who participated in Mardi Gras societies and/or balls.

Findings

– The findings demonstrate that social identity theory is supported in Southern Mardi Gras society and that elements of racial divide, social stratification, and fixity of residence continue to support this subculture.

Originality/value

– While most who are aware of Mardi Gras traditions associate it solely with New Orleans, this paper presents the rich subculture of Mardi Gras societies that extends along the upper Gulf Coast region of the USA. Tied to tourism in this region, these practices are explored for the nuances of this subculture and the Mardi Gras event myth.

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