All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Heith Copes

Advisory Committee Members

Tom Kovandzic

Mark Lagory

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science (MS) College of Arts and Sciences


This paper re-considers the Southern Culture of Honor and Violence thesis that has enjoyed prevalence in the literature since the first half of the 20th century. The bulk of researchers previously investigating the link among Southernness, culture of honor, and violence have used attitudinal measures of violence, where survey respondents indicated only their preferences and opinions toward engaging in hypothesized violence. The research in this project employs a behavioral measure of violence, and improves upon prior research by measuring actual violent behaviors of respondents with a national survey of defensive gun use (DGU). Results indicate that Southern respondents show an increased involvement in DGU. However, this effect diminishes when controlling for gun ownership and gun carrying. This suggests that Southernness is indirectly related to DGU, with gun ownership and gun carrying being mediating variables. In addition, those involved in DGU may as well be young, live in cities, non-white, and gun-owners. This is dissonant with the suggestion of historical literature, which promotes an image of the rural Southern white male involved in a violent defense of his honor. For this reason, the discussion centers on the limitations of the research and the ways in which it might be improved to probe deeper into the complex Southern culture.



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