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Civil War CanonSites of Confederate Memory in South Carolina$
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Thomas J. Brown

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469620954

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469620954.001.0001

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The Desertion of Tradition

The Desertion of Tradition

(p.201) 6 The Desertion of Tradition
Civil War Canon

Thomas J. Brown

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the controversy over the Confederate flag in South Carolina. It argues that beyond the most obvious racial politics of the flag, the claim for continuity from the Lost Cause era to the millennial defense of the Southern Cross fails to recognize important shifts in the foundations and uses of Confederate memory. The raising of the flag above the South Carolina statehouse in March 1962 reflected its emergence in a popular culture of recreation and consumption that was starkly different from and in some ways antithetical to the memorial culture of the Lost Cause. When state display of the flag came under attack, its defenders could not rely on the gender, religious, and class structures that had sustained earlier Confederate commemoration. The most vital form of Confederate commemoration now projected the disintegration of traditional social institutions into an atomism best exemplified by the consumer marketplace.

Keywords:   Confederate flag, South Carolina, collective memory, Civil WarLost Cause, Southern Cross, consumer market

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