Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization / Edition 1

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The immediate impact of deindustrialization—the suffering inflicted upon workers, their families, and their communities—has been widely reported by scholars and journalists. In this important volume, the authors seek to move discussion of America's industrial decline beyond the immediate ramifications of plant shutdowns by placing it into a broader social, political, and economic context. Emphasizing a historical approach, the authors explore the multiple meanings of one of the major transformations of the twentieth century.The concept of deindustrialization entered the popular and scholarly lexicon in 1982 with the publication of The Deindustrialization of America, by Barry Bluestone and Bennett Harrison. Beyond the Ruins both builds upon and departs from the insights presented in that benchmark study. In this volume, the authors rethink the chronology, memory, geography, culture, and politics of industrial change in America.Taken together, these original essays argue that deindustrialization is not a story of a single emblematic place, such as Flint or Youngstown, or a specific time period, such as the 1980s. Nor is it limited to the abandoned factory buildings associated with heavy industry. Rather, deindustrialization is a complex process that is uneven in its causes, timing, and consequences. The essays in this volume examine this process through a wide range of topics, from worker narratives and media imagery, to suburban politics, environmental activism, and commemoration.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The term "deindustrialization" came into widespread use during the economic transformation of the 1980s. It signified a systematic shift in patterns of capital investment, frequently to the detriment of workers and communities. This collection of essays deals with the ongoing consequences of deindustrialization from a sociological and historic perspective. . . Altogether, the book offers a broad and insightful picture of the costs of economic restructuring. Summing Up: Recommended. Public, academic (lower-division undergraduate and up), and professional library collections."—Choice, March 2004

"The process of deindustrialization is explored from many different perspectives, including worker narratives, media imagery, suburban politics, environmental activism, and commemoration."—ILR Connections, Winter 2004

"The authors explore deindustrialization, not only as a story of decline and loss but also as a dynamic process. They use the concept of deindustrialization as a point of departure to examine a wide range of issues, including the history of regional development policy, the ideological manipulation of regional employment loss, and the long-term consequences of shifting the environmental costs of industrial production from one community to another. . . . In the narratives that make up Beyond the Ruins, the fate of communities is not inevitable, and the book pays considerable attention to the valiant efforts of citizens to weather crises and rebuild their communities. These abilities to act are, however strongly influenced by the decisions of local and national politicians and the interests they represent."—Susan Christopherson, Cornell University, Journal of the American Planning Association, Autumn 2004, Vol. 70, No. 4

"Consciousness of historical change makes Beyond the Ruins an invaluable contribution both to the literature on deindustrialization and to recent American history. . . . Deindustrialization differs across communities because the factors common to all capitalist societies are mediated by a community's history and its politics, including the struggles by communities to control capital. Deindustrialization is not only what is done to American communities, it is what we do with ourselves. And a good place to start thinking about what we can do is this fine book."—Gerald Friedman, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Labor History, Vol. 45, No. 3, Aug 2004

"Deindustrialization has been a reality in American life for at least a generation, to the point where it now seems commonplace. The announcement that a company was cutting thousands of jobs was once greeted with shock. Today such announcements are a regular event. . . . After a generation of this reality, the essays in Jefferson Cowie and Joseph Heathcott's Beyond the Ruins attempt to move the discussion of deindustrialization forward. . . . Beyond the Ruins contributes to a rethinking of deindustrialization and to our understanding of the complexity of the economic and social changes it has entailed."—Phillip Payne, St. Bonaventure University, Technology and Culture, vol. 46, April 2005

"Beyond the Ruins is not principally about the causes of deindustrialization but rather the diverse dimensions of post-World War II urban and industrial crises. Its authors hail from many disciplines, and they offer a rich, expansive set of perspectives on the social, economic, environmental, and cultural dimensions of deindustrialization."—Domenic Vitiello, University of Pennsylvania, Industrial Place-Making In North America, vol. 4, no. 3, August 2005

"Beyond the Ruins chronicles the human stories beneath the statistics of plant closures and job losses. It is must reading for anyone concerned about the current wave of deindustrialization that is undermining the job security, good wages, and respect in the workplace once widely enjoyed by manufacturing workers."—John Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO

"In this landmark study, some of our smartest urban geographers and historians revisit the industrial graveyards of New Deal America. These case studies should be court-ordered reading for those civic boosters who think that the deep wounds of plant closure can be healed with a new office park or some 'dead tech' sculpture gardens."—Mike Davis, author, most recently, of Dead Cities and Other Tales (2002) and coauthor of Under a Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See (2003)

"This important collection challenges us to think anew about the experience of post-World War II American cities, bringing historical depth and fresh disciplinary perspective to debates about the origins, meanings, and legacies of the process known as deindustrialization. In underscoring the importance of political and cultural factors, the authors uncover the varieties of collective, institutional, and above all human action that have shaped structural transformations in the past—and that can be mobilized toward a more equitable future."—Alice O'Connor, author of Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in Twentieth-Century U.S. History

"This outstanding and thought-provoking collection describes the complex roles of the many players in tales of deindustrialization."—Laurence F. Gross, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, author of The Course of Industrial Decline

"The essays in Beyond the Ruins traverse America, with stops in rusted and reconstructed places as diverse as Atlantic City, Butte, Gary, Lansing, Oakland, Yonkers, and Youngstown. Collectively, these histories offer a powerful corrective to overdetermined accounts of economic change, reminding us that deindustrialization was the result of politics and public policy and often met with fierce, creative resistance. The authors represent the best of a new generation of American historians who research locally and think globally."—Thomas J. Sugrue, Bicentennial Class of 1940 Professor of History and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, and author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801488719
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Meanings of Deindustrialization 1
Ch. 1 "A Trial of Ghost Towns across Our Land": The Decline of Manufacturing in Yonkers, New York 19
Ch. 2 The "Fall" of Reo in Lansing, Michigan, 1955-1975 44
Ch. 3 Segregated Fantasies: Race, Public Space, and the Life and Death of the Movie Business in Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1945-2000 64
Ch. 4 Greening Anaconda: EPA, ARCO, and the Politics of Space in Postindustrial Montana 91
Ch. 5 From Love's Canal to Love Canal: Reckoning with the Environmental Legacy of an Industrial Dream 112
Ch. 6 The Wages of Disinvestment: How Money and Politics Aided the Decline of Camden, New Jersey 139
Ch. 7 California's Industrial Garden: Oakland and the East Bay in the Age of Deindustrialization 159
Ch. 8 Deindustrialization, Poverty, and Federal Area Redevelopment in the United States, 1945-1965 181
Ch. 9 Collateral Damage: Deindustrialization and the Uses of Youngstown 201
Ch. 10 Envisioning the Steel City: The Legend and Legacy of Gary, Indiana 219
Ch. 11 Monuments of a Lost Cause: The Postindustrial Campaign to Commemorate Steel 237
Ch. 12 Making Sense of Restructuring: Narratives of Accommodation among Downsized Workers 259
Ch. 13 Worker Memory and Narrative: Personal Stories of Deindustrialization in Louisville, Kentucky 284
Notes 305
Contributors 357
Index 363
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