Our Daily Bread: Wages, Workers, and the Political Economy of the American West / Edition 1

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Overview

A wage is more than a simple fee in exchange for labor, argues Geoff Mann. Beyond being a quantitative reflection of productivity or bargaining power, a wage is a political arena in which working people's identity, culture, and politics are negotiated and developed. In Our Daily Bread, Mann examines struggles over wages to reveal ways in which the wage becomes a critical component in the making of social hierarchies of race, gender, and citizenship.

Combining a fresh analysis of radical political economy with a critical assessment of the role of white men in North American labor politics, Mann addresses the issue of class politics and places the problem of "interests" squarely at the center of political economy. Rejecting the idea that interests are self-evident or unproblematic, Mann argues that workers' interests, and thus wage politics, are the product of the ongoing effort by wage workers to focus on quality in a socioeconomic system that relentlessly quantifies. Taking three wage disputes in the natural resources industry as his case studies, Mann demonstrates that wage negotiation is not simply emblematic of economic conflict over the distribution of income but also represents critical contests in the cultural politics of identity under capitalism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Should prove of interest not only to economists, economic geographers, and labor historians, but also to those engaged in, for instance, cultural studies and political theory." —Environment and Planning

"[An] important book."—Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807858318
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/3/2007
  • Series: Cultural Studies of the United States Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Geoff Mann is assistant professor of geography at Simon Fraser University.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface
1 The Wage, Cultural Politics, and the West
2 Against Equilibrium: The Politics of Measure
3 What's a Penny Worth?: Wages, Prices, and the American Working Man
4 What's in a Day's Wage?: Raced Work and the Social Production of Skill
5 Who Is a Wage Worker?: Worker-Producers and the Wage-Price
6 The Wage and Workers' Interests
Conclusion: The Wage, Our Daily Bread
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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