Worked Over: The Corporate Sabotage of an American Community

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9780801440922: Worked Over: The Corporate Sabotage of an American Community

Worked Over is a book about large-scale social change seen at close range, through the lives of generations of working people in a small manufacturing center along New York State's old Erie Canal. Their compelling stories add a new dimension to current debates over corporate power and the public good. Dimitra Doukas draws on ten years of ethnographic and historical research on the Mohawk River Valley towns of Herkimer, Illion, Frankfort, and Mohawk, where the Remington company, maker of arms and typewriters among other things, was for many years the backbone of a thriving regional society. Corporate takeover of the varied Remington enterprises in 1886 sent shock waves through this society, ushering in a century of social distress and decreasing political autonomy. Since the 1970s, the area has suffered mightily from deindustrialization. Local experience, Doukas finds, has shaped an American culture of strongly egalitarian ideals. From this perspective, the region's present plight appears, to many in the region, as a betrayal of American values. Knitting together the ethnographic present, the remembered past, and the historical past, the author tracks today's discontent to the dawn of the modern corporate era for a revealing and intimate look at the rise of a new political and economic power structure.

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From the Inside Flap:

"Worked Over is an ambitious book that succeeds very well. It should be required reading for all progressive political activists."--Janet Siskind, Rutgers University

"Doukas makes an important contribution to our understanding of the political disaffection so widely felt and expressed by working-class people. Worked Over is engagingly written and full of thought-provoking material."--Michael Zweig, Director of The Group for the Study of Working Class Life at SUNY/Stony Brook

"Worked Over is a captivating story about the transformations of regional capitalism and the impact of hit-and-run corporate capitalism on ordinary working Americans. This is ethnography at its best. With no holds barred, Doukas pulls the democratic challenge down to earth."—Laura Nader, University of California, Berkeley

About the Author:

Dimitra Doukas is an independent scholar and writer. She has been Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at New York University.

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