The native in the garden: Floral politics and cultural entrepreneurs

Kerry Dobransky, Gary Alan Fine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-585
Number of pages27
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Collective memory
  • Cultural entrepreneurs
  • Symbolic politics
  • Symbols
  • Tradition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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