Tobacco Capitalism: Growers, Migrant Workers, and the Changing Face of a Global Industry

Tobacco Capitalism: Growers, Migrant Workers, and the Changing Face of a Global Industry

by Peter Benson
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691149208

ISBN-13: 9780691149202

Pub. Date: 11/20/2011

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Tobacco Capitalism tells the story of the people who live and work on U.S. tobacco farms at a time when the global tobacco industry is undergoing profound changes. Against the backdrop of the antitobacco movement, the globalization and industrialization of agriculture, and intense debates over immigration, Peter Benson draws on years of field research to

Overview

Tobacco Capitalism tells the story of the people who live and work on U.S. tobacco farms at a time when the global tobacco industry is undergoing profound changes. Against the backdrop of the antitobacco movement, the globalization and industrialization of agriculture, and intense debates over immigration, Peter Benson draws on years of field research to examine the moral and financial struggles of growers, the difficult conditions that affect Mexican migrant workers, and the complex politics of citizenship and economic decline in communities dependent on this most harmful commodity.

Benson tracks the development of tobacco farming since the plantation slavery period and the formation of a powerful tobacco industry presence in North Carolina. In recent decades, tobacco companies that sent farms into crisis by aggressively switching to cheaper foreign leaf have coached growers to blame the state, public health, and aggrieved racial minorities for financial hardship and feelings of vilification. Economic globalization has exacerbated social and racial tensions in North Carolina, but the corporations that benefit have rarely been considered a key cause of harm and instability, and have now adopted social-responsibility platforms to elide liability for smoking disease. Parsing the nuances of history, power, and politics in rural America, Benson explores the cultural and ethical ambiguities of tobacco farming and offers concrete recommendations for the tobacco-control movement in the United States and worldwide.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691149202
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
11/20/2011
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,307,598
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii
Foreword by Allan M. Brandt ix
Preface xi
Introduction 1

PART I:The Tobacco Industry, Public Health, and Agrarian Change
Chapter 1: Most Admired Company 37
Chapter 2: The Jungle 63
Chapter 3: Enemies of Tobacco 96

PART II: Innocence and Blame in American Society
Chapter 4: Good, Clean Tobacco 135
Chapter 5: El Campo 166
Chapter 6: Sorriness 210

Conclusion: Reflections on the Tobacco Industry (and American Exceptionalism) 258
Bibliography 275
Index 307

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