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Citizenship, Gender and Work: Social Organization of by Robert J. Thomas

By Robert J. Thomas

Why do farm employees earn much less and feature a decrease prestige than blue-collar staff in similar jobs? Robert J. Thomas solutions this question via a multi-method examine of agricultural paintings and hard work markets. Fieldwork as a lettuce harvester offers precious insights from the point of view of undocumented immigrants. it is a compelling research of ways the vulnerability of non-citizens and girls employees augments managerial control.

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Extra info for Citizenship, Gender and Work: Social Organization of Industrial Agriculture

Example text

The resulting process of production is characterized by periods of considerable activity (planting and harvesting) separated by periods of slack while plants mature or seasons change. This pattern of labor use is not peculiar to the Southwest, but it is especially important when the commodity under production is highly perishable and must be harvested within specific time limits. Second, the intense market orientation of production made labor availability crucial to the success of the agricultural enterprise.

First, the environmental and physical characteristics of crop production (particularly fruit and vegetable production) created a pattern of labor use quite dif- ― 52 ― ferent from that found in other production systems. Most important is the temporal separation of the activities of planting and harvesting. The resulting process of production is characterized by periods of considerable activity (planting and harvesting) separated by periods of slack while plants mature or seasons change. This pattern of labor use is not peculiar to the Southwest, but it is especially important when the commodity under production is highly perishable and must be harvested within specific time limits.

Likewise, agricultural labor markets are seen as consisting of low skilled, unstable, low status workers, that is, members of competitive or secondary labor markets (Piore, 1975). Following the general identification of sectoral organization and labor market structure suggested by Edwards (1975) and others, the undifferentiated demand for labor within small-scale firms results in the creation of a comparably undifferentiated labor market. While monopoly/competitive and primary/secondary distinctions may serve as useful analytic devices in comparing forms of organization, the application of the schema to the lettuce industry presents a peculiar result: the conjunction of "monopoly" type firms with "secondary" labor.

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