By Robert J. Thomas
Why do farm employees earn much less and feature a reduce prestige than blue-collar staff in related jobs? Robert J. Thomas solutions this query via a multi-method learn of agricultural paintings and exertions markets. Fieldwork as a lettuce harvester offers invaluable insights from the point of view of undocumented immigrants. it is a compelling research of ways the vulnerability of non-citizens and girls staff augments managerial keep watch over.
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Additional info for Citizenship, Gender and Work: Social Organization of Industrial Agriculture
Viewed broadly, agricultural enterprises—large and small, well-heeled and struggling—have had in common access to a distinctive supply of labor: a supply distinguished historically by its mobility, its elasticity, its responsiveness to fluctuating economic conditions, and perhaps most important, its lower price relative to other segments of the national labor force. As the figures below indicate (table 1), wages in southwestern agriculture have historically lagged well behind those received by workers in the manufacturing sector.
And how was it constructed so as to satisfy the demands of burgeoning agricultural enterprises? The development of this agricultural economy fostered a variety of strategies for organizing and utilizing labor. However, two modal forms of labor organization emerged. The first, prevalent among tenant farms and small family operations, engaged the family itself as a means by which to organize and extract labor. That is, within the context of a heavy emphasis on seasonal cash-farming, family members could be trained in the totality of production skills and maintained to be available despite the periodic application of those skills.
The Chinese) migrancy and low living standards as a group trait rather than a condition of employment. Adaptive behavior became a symbol of the inner character of the workers themselves. Equally important, that negative connotation (along with the undesirable conditions of employment) served to discourage the influx of domestic workers who might have been able to demand an upgrading of conditions (McWilliams, 1971:76; London and Anderson, 1970:chap. 1). The Southwest's growing agricultural economy thus was fueled by the creation of an abundant and politically ostracized supply of low-status labor.