Although sociological research has examined how state symbolism binds citizens together and creates allegiance, little attention has been paid to how such symbols are selected. We investigate the adoption of state flowers in the United States. Seemingly unproblematic processes surrounding the selection of floral emblems can, under certain circumstances, involve heated symbolic politics. The default option of selecting a native flower, naturalizing the state, can be overcome by materialist or cultural interests that invest cultivated flowers with symbolic potency. In-depth case studies of three states where battles were waged over the state flower reveal that the battle lines were material and symbolic, demonstrating that apparently "authentic" representations of nature can be trumped by factional and subcultural interests.
- Collective memory
- Cultural entrepreneurs
- Symbolic politics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science