On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Rational Southerner

The Rational Southerner: Black Mobilization, Republican Growth, and the Partisan Transformation of the American South, by M. V. Hood III, Quentin Kidd, and Irwin L. MorrisBlack Mobilization, Republican Growth, and the Partisan Transformation of the American South

Since 1950, the South has undergone the most dramatic political transformation of any region in the country. The Solid (Democratic) South is now overwhelmingly Republican, and long-disenfranchised African Americans vote at levels comparable to those of whites. In The Rational Southerner, the authors explore the theory of relative advantage to provide a new perspective on this party system transformation.

Written more than six decades ago, V. O. Key’s seminal work on the region highlighted the fact that the politics of the South was permeated by the issue of race. The central finding of his work is that race was, and still is, the locus of political change in the South. This conclusion stands in stark contrast to recent scholarship that points to in-migration, economic growth, or religious factors as being more pivotal agents of change.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Scholars have long been fascinated by the transformation of the South from a Democratic bastion to a Republican stronghold. Hood, Kidd, and Morris develop an innovative theoretical argument, denoted relative advantage theory, to explain this transformation, and they document convincingly the causal pas de deux that has taken place in the South over time between the growth of the Republican Party and the mobilization of black voters. The authors have written a superb book that will quickly become a major work in the study of southern politics, political realignments, and racial politics.”—James C. Garand, Emogine Pliner Distinguished Professor and R. Downs Poindexter Professor, Louisiana State University

“Southern whites found a comfortable new home in the GOP. Unable to dominate the Democratic Party after Jim Crow fell, whites found a home where political compromise was Unnecessary. As The Rational Southerner shows, this trend toward ‘white flight’ was also an act of political flight that enabled a two-party South.”—Ronald Keith Gaddie, The University of Oklahoma; co-author of The Triumph of Voting Rights in the South

For more information on the publication, click here.

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