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Social identity in the American South: Mardi Gras societies in coastal Mississippi and Alabama

Julie Z. Sneath (Department of Management and Marketing, College of Business Administration, Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, Louisiana, USA)
Carol M. Megehee (Department of Marketing, Mitchell College of Business, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA)
Deborah F. Spake (Department of Management and Marketing, College of Business Administration, Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, Louisiana, USA)

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research

ISSN: 1750-6182

Article publication date: 6 June 2008

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.

Keywords

Citation

Sneath, J.Z., Megehee, C.M. and Spake, D.F. (2008), "Social identity in the American South: Mardi Gras societies in coastal Mississippi and Alabama", International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 170-186. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506180810880728

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited