Critical Criminology

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 103–117 | Cite as

Wild, Wonderful, White Criminality: Images of “White Trash” Appalachia

  • Stephen T. YoungEmail author


Films in no small way have the ability to reflect and shape public perceptions. The following is a discussion of how three documentaries set in rural West Virginia, Dancing Outlaw (1991), The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (2009), and Oxyana (2013) have strengthened the idea of the “white trash criminal” in American discourse. The films draw upon stereotypical understandings of rural people—poverty, drug use, domestic violence, dependence—and contribute to the cultural production and exclusion of a “white trash” other. However, creation of this particular figure often occurs without consideration of a broader history, local political economies, intra-race conflict (whites vs. “white trash”) and generational poverty. The aim here is to confront and contest contemporary understandings of the “white trash” other, in order to refocus everyday discussions on the lived realities of rural Appalachia.


Domestic Violence Critical Criminology White Family Criminal Justice Policy Appalachian Region 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sociology and Criminal JusticeOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA

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