Tell the Tennessean: Is Nashville Still Southern?

The Tennessean put out a call for input yesterday asking whether Nashville has lost its Southern-ness and if all these Northern imports (ahem) were to blame.

Is Nashville getting away from its Southern roots and are newcomers to blame? Or are these transplants bringing a new groove to Music City that adds to its economy and culture? We want to know how natives think they’ve changed the community, from our politics to our values. And if you are a newcomer to Middle Tennessee or the South, are there things you’ve learned or picked up from living here?

Personally, I think it’s an interesting question, because apart from being, you know, in the southern-most half of the country, I haven’t been sure I know exactly what defines the South. I mean, yeah, there’s the whole historical connection with secession and slavery and the war, but when people talk about the South rising again, I wonder what it is they envision.

So tell us here what you think, or tell the Tennessean (they want you to get in touch with reporter Bonna de la Cruz at 615-726-5990 or or better yet, do both.

1 Comment so far

  1. Jon (unregistered) on July 1st, 2007 @ 8:42 am

    This meme seems to come up every few years and has for as long as I can remember. And as a southerner who has never felt southern, it’s a topic that somewhat intrigues me.

    Thing is I think Nashville has always been less “southern” than the rest of the south. Probably mostly due to having long been a transportation hub and gateway city, at one time because of the river and in modern times because of the intersection of the interstates. Add in the influences left from the period of Union occupation, and feed it all with the national draw of the music industry & Vanderbilt.

    But If the trend has accelerated in the last few decades, I’d say that’s mostly due to the national cultural normalization being driven by mass communications, and the homogenization driven by corporate industry, fast food, franchise retail, etc…

    I also think to a large degree “southernness” is little more than a romanticization of rural culture that just doesn’t translate to urban life and disappears just by virtue of the city growing. And a lot of the time when people say that Nashville has lost its southernness, what they really mean is that their own family has lost its southernness over the generations since they moved in from the farms.

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