The Rebel Behind the Wheel: An Examination of the ‘Redneck’ Rebel Cultural Trope in <i>The Dukes of Hazzard</i>


The heyday of ‘Redneck’ cinema—the 1970s to early 1980s, saw the rise of the Redneck Rebel—a Southern or otherwise ‘hick’ anti-hero who rode around the countryside like a modern-day cowboy vanquishing evil. His ‘horse’ was his car—a beefed up/souped up muscle car that often became the star of the show and overshadowed the anti-hero himself. This article examines the Redneck Rebel through the lens of one American TV series—The Dukes of Hazzard. This popular 1980s TV series, along with its antecedents and contemporaries, underscore several important points that reinforce typical conservative American virtues: freedom, fighting the ‘good fight,’ an overt heterosexuality, a particular reveling in a sarcastic ‘sticking out the tongue’ at the overly sophisticated, overly arrogant, ‘anti-American,’ and well-heeled parts of American society.


cars; television series; redneck culture; The Dukes of Hazzard

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Published : 2021-12-19

StarnesJ. (2021). The Rebel Behind the Wheel: An Examination of the ‘Redneck’ Rebel Cultural Trope in <i>The Dukes of Hazzard</i&gt;. Review of International American Studies, 14(2), 89-102.

John Eric Starnes
University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland  Poland

Eric Starnes is a native of Catawba county, North Carolina. He holds a B.A. (1990) and an M.A. (1995) in Russian/East European History from Appalachian State University and a PhD (2018) in American Literature from the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. He has published several articles on American white nationalist fiction, the men’s movement and men’s adventure fiction. His current research interests include: American white nationalist fiction, Nazi occultism in American pulp fiction and conspiracy theories in American pulp fiction.

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