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The End of the Line: Lost Jobs, New Lives in Postindustrial America

Overview


The End of the Line tells the story of the 1988 closing of the Chrysler assembly plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kathryn Marie Dudley uses interviews with residents to chart the often confusing process of change that deindustrialization forced on every corner of the community. This honest, moving portrait of one town's radical shift from a manufacturing to a postindustrial economy will redefine the way Americans think about our families, communities, and future.

"An excellent study not only of the cultural ...

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Overview


The End of the Line tells the story of the 1988 closing of the Chrysler assembly plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kathryn Marie Dudley uses interviews with residents to chart the often confusing process of change that deindustrialization forced on every corner of the community. This honest, moving portrait of one town's radical shift from a manufacturing to a postindustrial economy will redefine the way Americans think about our families, communities, and future.

"An excellent study not only of the cultural disruptions caused by the shutdown of Chrysler's operations in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but also of the ideology of progress that abetted the shutdown."—Stephen Amberg, Industrial and Labor Relations Review

"With the eye of an anthropologist, [Dudley] examines the tensions between the 'culture of hands' and the 'culture of mind.' Her account is especially instructive because, by many measures, Kenosha has successfully recovered, yet for many the pain still remains."—Booklist

"Exceptional. . . . Should be widely read."—Douglas Harper, Contemporary Sociology

"Make[s] clear what a tenuous concept economic security is, especially when the rules for achieving security are in flux."—Barbara Presley Noble, New York Times

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this well-written study of the 1988 closing of the Chrysler assembly plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Dudley, an anthropologist and assistant professor of American studies at Yale University, argues that economists, sociologists, and anthropologists are wrongfully portraying displaced factory workers as new American primitives lost in a postindustrial society. ``They are people who work with their hands in a society that increasingly values work done with the mind,'' she writes. We thus are witnessing ``a cultural debate about two very different ways of calculating the value of the work we do and the worth of the people we are.'' Dudley concludes, however, ``that both versions of meritocracy are viable in American society, so long as the economy backs them up.'' Former autoworkers understand that they may need new credentials, but they need help getting those credentials and then new jobs. Given its scholarly tone, this book is recommended for large academic libraries.-Jeffrey R. Herold, Bucyrus P.L., Ohio
David Rouse
Dudley, a Yale University assistant professor of American studies, tells the grim, by-now-familiar tale of a plant closing and its effect on a community. In 1988 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Chrysler shut down its plant and 6,000 people lost their jobs, devastating the town and its people. Similar tales have been told about Youngstown, Buffalo, South Chicago, Lowell, and other cities across the so-called Rust Belt, but Dudley successfully humanizes such often-bandied phrases as "displaced workers" and "transition to a post-industrial economy." In addition, with the eye of an anthropologist, she examines the tension between the "culture of hands" and the "culture of mind." Her account is especially instructive because, by many measures, Kenosha has successfully recovered, yet for many the pain still remains. Recommended for business, labor, and social studies collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226169088
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1994
  • Series: Morality and Society Series Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Kathryn Marie Dudley is assistant professor of American studies and anthropology at Yale University.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Tradition of Opportunity
Part One: What Happened to the American Dream?
1. Kenosha Had a Dream
2. Keep Kenosha Open!
3. Dollars and Diplomas
Part Two: Culture of the Mind
4. Turning the Tables
5. Social Darwinism Revisited
6. That Haunting Thing
Part Three: Culture of the Hands
7. Shopfloor Culture
8. Badges of Ability
9. Broken Promises
10. Mapping the Moral Terrain
Conclusion: American Primitive
Appendix: The Kenosha Workforce
Notes
Index
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