Through the creation of the show “Moonshiners,” anyone who owns a distillery was given a new identity. The discourse that was created in order to form this identity was very negative and heavily based off of stereotypes. This truth regime and the later created discourse benefit the ruling class, and strengthen the negative stereotypes associated with poverty. There is an automatic notion of criminality that is attached to the citizens of lower classes. The characters in the show who partake in the illegal distillation of whiskey are not members of a higher socio-economic class and they are uneducated. The only member of the cast who is a member of the ruling or more prestigious socio-economic class is also an agent for the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control. He is not only a more respectable member of society, he is part of the law, and he is determined to end the criminality of the impoverished. The producers of this show have profited a great deal from the mythologized characters and the acceptance of Southernness as something natural that the entire Southern portion of the United States strives for. They have also succeeded in creating a greater divide between social classes through the naturalization of the criminality associated with poverty.


As I wrote this paper I realized just how relevant all of the theory we’ve learned is. Throughout the class I had no idea it could be so well applied to modern cultural practices. I dissected the show and the creation of moonshine through class struggles, semiotics, and the creation of technologies of power. Doing this paper really put the theory into perspective for me, and really helped me understand what I was doing. We see this kind of manipulation with many different cultural practices, some taboo, some not. Stereotypes have been our best friend through time when creating social norms and constructing identities.

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