Mining coal and undermining gender: rhythms of work and family in the American West

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Pub. Date:
2014
Language:
English
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Though mining is an infamously masculine industry, women make up 20 percent of all production crews in Wyoming's Powder River Basin--the largest coal-producing region in the United States. How do these women fit into a working culture supposedly hostile to females? This is what anthropologist Jessica Smith Rolston, herself a onetime mine worker and the daughter of a miner, set out to discover. Her answers, based on years of participant-observation in four mines and extensive interviews with miners, managers, engineers, and the families of mine employees, offer a rich and surprising view of the working "families" that miners construct. In this picture, gender roles are not nearly as straightforward--or as straitened--as stereotypes suggest. Gender is far from the primary concern of coworkers in crews. Far more important, Rolston finds, is protecting the safety of the entire crew and finding a way to treat each other well despite the stresses of their jobs. These miners share the burden of rotating shift work--continually switching between twelve-hour day and night shifts--which deprives them of the daily rhythms of a typical home, from morning breakfasts to bedtime stories. Rolston identifies the mine workers' response to these shared challenges as a new sort of constructed kinship that both challenges and reproduces gender roles in their everyday working and family lives. Crews' expectations for coworkers to treat one another like family and to adopt an "agricultural" work ethic tend to minimize gender differences. And yet, these differences remain tenacious in the equation of masculinity with technical expertise, and of femininity with household responsibilities. For Rolston, such lingering areas of inequality highlight the importance of structural constraints that flout a common impulse among men and women to neutralize the significance of gender, at home and in the workplace. At a time when the Appalachian region continues to dominate discussion of mining culture, this book provides a very different and unexpected view--of how miners live and work together, and of how their lives and work reconfigure ideas of gender and kinship.
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9780813563671
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9780813563688
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Grouped Work ID1005d8f6-ce9c-35af-6f27-d765c84a7b32
Grouping Titlemining coal and undermining gender rhythms of work and family in the american west
Grouping Authorrolston jessica smith
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-11-02 01:49:40AM
Last Indexed2019-11-14 06:15:15AM

Solr Details

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authorRolston, Jessica Smith, 1980-
author_displayRolston, Jessica Smith
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detailed_location_lakecountyLake County Non Fiction
display_descriptionAmong the miners of Wyoming's Powder River Basin-the largest coal-producing region in the U.S.-anthropologist Jessica Smith Rolston reveals how the mining industry, though heavily masculinized, generates new configurations of the "working family"--A kind of kinship based on the shared burdens of shift work and concerns for safety, which challenges and reproduces gender differences in everyday working and family life.
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ProQuest Ebook Central (Western):EBC1651775eBookeBookEnglishRutgers University Press, [2014]1 online resource (249 pages) : illustrations
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subject_facetBUSINESS & ECONOMICS -- Labor
Coal mines and mining -- Social aspects
Coal mines and mining -- Social aspects -- Wyoming
Electronic book
Electronic books
POLITICAL SCIENCE -- Labor & Industrial Relations
SOCIAL SCIENCE -- Gender Studies
Sex role
Women coal miners
Women coal miners -- Wyoming
Work and family
Wyoming
title_displayMining coal and undermining gender : rhythms of work and family in the American West
title_fullMining coal and undermining gender : rhythms of work and family in the American West / Jessica Smith Rolston
title_shortMining coal and undermining gender
title_subrhythms of work and family in the American West
topic_facetBUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Coal mines and mining
Gender Studies
Labor
Labor & Industrial Relations
POLITICAL SCIENCE
SOCIAL SCIENCE
Sex role
Social aspects
Women coal miners
Work and family