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The End of the Line Lost Jobs, New Lives in Postindustrial America cover
  • ISBN: 9780226169088
  • ISBN10: 0226169081

The End of the Line Lost Jobs, New Lives in Postindustrial America

by Kathryn Marie Dudley

  • List Price: $37.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 04/01/1994
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An evocative and powerful portrait of America in transition, The End of the Line tells the story of what the 1988 closing of the Chrysler assembly plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin, meant to the people who lived in that company town. Since the early days of the twentieth century, Kenosha had forged its identity and politics around the interests of the auto industry. When nearly six thousand workers lost their jobs in the shutdown, the community faced not only a serious economic crisis but also a profound moral one. In this innovative study, Dudley describes the painful, often confusing process of change that residents of Kenosha, like the increasing number of Americans who are caught in the crossfire of deindustrialization, were forced to undergo. Through interviews with displaced autoworkers and Kenosha's community leaders, high-school counselors, and a rising class of upwardly mobile professionals, Dudley dramatizes the lessons Kenoshans drew from the plant shutdown. When economic forces intrude on our lives, the resulting changes in earning power, status, and access to opportunity affect our sense of who we are, what we are worth, the nature of the world we live in, and in particular, what it takes to succeed. Dudley examines how ideas about self-worth - especially those based on market ideologies of competition and the Darwinian notion that only the fittest survive - become the subject of intense cultural conflict. Dudley describes a community in conflict with itself: while Kenosha's autoworkers struggle to regain an economic foothold and make sense of their suddenly devalued place in society, white-collar workers, professionals, and a new wave of politicians see themselves at thevanguard of a new moral order that redefines community as a "culture of mind" instead of the traditional "culture of hands" long associated with the work of the assembly line. This honest, moving portrait of one town's radical shift from a manufacturing to a postindustrial economy will redefine the way Americans across class lines think about our families, communities, and future.
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