Contested Communities: Class, Gender, and Politics in Chile's El Teniente Copper Mine, 1904-1951 / Edition 1

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In Contested Communities Thomas Miller Klubock analyzes the experiences of the El Teniente copper miners during the first fifty years of the twentieth century. Describing the everyday life and culture of the mining community, its impact on Chilean politics and national events, and the sense of self and identity working-class men and women developed in the foreign-owned enclave, Klubock provides important insights into the cultural and social history of Chile.
Klubock shows how a militant working-class community was established through the interplay between capitalist development, state formation, and the ideologies of gender. In describing how the North American copper company attempted to reconfigure and reform the work and social-cultural lives of men and women who migrated to the mine, Klubock demonstrates how struggles between labor and capital took place on a gendered field of power and reconstituted social constructions of masculinity and femininity. As a result, Contested Communities describes more accurately than any previous study the nature of grassroots labor militancy, working-class culture, and everyday politics of gender relations during crucial years of the Chilean Popular Front in the 1930s and 1940s.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Klubock uses the lens of gender to cast some of the most self-consciously masculine workers in Latin America—the copper miners of Chile’s El Teniente—in a new light. If Klubock’s account is cutting edge in its gender analysis, his combining of gender with class analysis and his application of both to the labor history of a masculine Latin American workforce is pathbreaking. . . . Klubock tells this complex story with narrative skill and analytic clarity.” - Peter Winn, American Historical Review

“Thomas Klubock has penned a splendid description and analysis of working-class life in a mining camp run by North American capitalists. Diligently researched and deftly written, Constested Communities focuses on the grassroots. . . . This book will satisfy traditional labor historians with its analysis of the workforce, working conditions, union affairs, and political activism. It will also please more voguish social and cultural historians with its exceptional attention to daily lives, to values and attitudes, and to the neglected roles of women. It will be hailed by both groups of scholars as a sophisticated portrait of the interactions between global capitalist structures and local social forces.” - Paul W. Drake, Labor History

“[A] lucid and persuasive history drawn from local archives, company records, personal interviews, and informed readings of a wide array of substantive and theoretical literature.” - A. J. Bauer, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“Tracing the history of El Teniente is useful, and the author has based his work upon a rich number of sources. . . . [T]his work reveals an aspect of life that is little known.” - William F. Sater, The Historian

"[S]ophisticated, well-researched, and methodologically innovative . . . .” - Joel Wolfe, Latin American Research Review

"Combining the explanatory power of theory with rich, evocative narrative, Klubock sets a new standard for the treatment of gender relations and politics in Latin American labor history."—Gil Joseph, Yale University

"Revealing a defining moment of modern Chilean history, Contested Communities is a crucially important work. First-rate, fascinating labor history . . . remarkable for its boldness and originality."—Jeffrey L. Gould, Indiana University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Thomas Miller Klubock is Associate Professor of History, SUNY Stony Brook.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. I Gender and the Process of Proletarianization, 1904-1938 17
1 The Formation of a Modern Mining Enterprise: Capital, Labor Migration, and Early Forms of Worker Resistance 19
2 Labor Strife, Social Welfare, and the Regulation of Working-Class Sexuality 49
3 Community, Politics, and the Invention of a Labor Tradition 81
Pt. II Gender, Culture, and the Politics of Everyday Life 101
4 Miners and Citizens: The State, the Popular Front, and Labor Politics 103
5 Conflict and Accommodation at Work: Masculinity and the Labor Process inside the Mine 127
6 "Rotos Macanudos" and Football Stars: Popular Culture, Working-Class Masculinity, and Opposition in the Mining Camps 155
7 Women, Marriage, and the Organization of Sexuality 188
Pt. III Men and Women on Strike: The Mining Community and the Demise of Populism, 1942-1948 223
8 Workers' Movements, Women's Mobilization, and Labor Politics 225
9 The Radicalization of Working-Class Politics: United States Intervention, Miners' Strikes, and the Crisis of Populism 254
Conclusion 282
Notes 297
Bibliography 337
Index 347
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