This dissertation explores the ways in which a diverse workforce negotiated differences and formed novel labor communities within the strictures of nineteenth century industrial quicklime production in Santa Cruz County, California. These issues are examined through archaeological and historical research at the Samuel Adams Lime Kiln complex, a small pluralistic company town in operation between 1858 and 1909 in the western foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The history of the Samuel Adams site is one marked by transformations in ownership, management practices, and workforce demography. As such, it was a dynamic landscape where notions of ethnicity, class, gender, and labor were constantly being negotiated and (re)defined.
The archaeological findings of this work indicate that the particularities of early industrial work-life in the American Far West facilitated intimate and sustained encounters between diverse groups of laborers. These pluralistic encounters necessitated negotiations and collaborations across differences, which resulted in the emergence of new ways of doing and being. Rather than seeing social groups as fixed and pre-defined, I explore the ways in which novel labor communities were co-constituted and emergent through intra-action. I argue that it was in the processes of negotiating alterity and the resulting co-creation of new social-material practices that novel connections were created between workers and community boundaries were reconfigured and reimagined. Instead of being impeded by pluralism, I contend that cultural diversity actively promoted the construction of novel labor communities at early industrial sites. Moreover, these emergent relations and nascent communities of practice forged the necessary connections for later union formation and collective action in the Santa Cruz lime industry.
To explore these ideas, I engage with new materialist theories that position materials as vibrant and agentive in the constitution of the social-material world. As such, archaeological materials are examined not as static reflections or products of culture change, but as active participants in the dynamic processes of social entanglement that worked to reshape social practices, relations, connections, and meanings at the Samuel Adams site. This work illustrates that industrial sites, which have long been recognized as places of control and exploitation, were also important pluralistic spaces of social-material encounter, negotiation, entanglement, and emergence. These sites, therefore, were spaces of creativity, collaboration, and community-making.
|Advisor:||Wilkie, Laurie A.|
|Commitee:||Lightfoot, Kent G., Henkin, David M.|
|School:||University of California, Berkeley|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Archaeology, American history|
|Keywords:||American West, Culture contact, Historical archaeology, Labor, New materialism|
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