Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Power and forced labor: A geneology of labor and migration in the United States
by Rohan, Rory Delaney, M.A., American University, 2012, 180; 1572493
Abstract (Summary)

Recently, federal agents across the US have uncovered an unprecedented number of forced labor operations, many involving non-citizens who are forced to perform farm work under threat of violence and deportation. Contemporary scholarship explains this phenomenon as the effect of liberalized economic relations, industrialized agriculture, and consumer demand for cheap products. While instructive, such explanations leave open questions of how historical factors sanction the coercive farm labor relations seen today. Using the genealogical method, this paper examines the history of labor practices in Florida, a state in which forced labor not only flourished before the Civil War, but also in which forced labor remains common today.

After highlighting how Florida's ante-bellum and post-bellum labor practices and discourses imbued employment with normative valuations, this paper argues that such discourses and practices have since been taken up by state and federal institutions, eventually influencing laws and policies concerning labor, prisoners, and immigrants. These historically embedded practices and discourses, moreover, function to discipline the lives and govern the status of non-citizens in and through employment.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Berry, Evan, Mertus, Julie
School: American University
Department: School of International Service
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 54/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy, Modern history, Labor relations
Keywords: Discourse analysis, Genealogy, Immigration, Labor, Slavery
Publication Number: 1572493
ISBN: 9781321468847
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