The gender-specific class consciousness of Appalachian coal miners: Structure and change

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Book Chapter

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© 1991 Taylor & Francis. The term “class consciousness” has often been used in Marxist theory to mean the full realization by a class of its position in the class system and of the actions it must take to revolutionize the system to reflect its interests. This chapter utilizes the term “actual class consciousness” to connote what workers believe and feel about the class system they experience. It shows how the logic of capitalist and patriarchal domination has shaped the class/gender experience of Appalachian coal miners. The gender relations of Appalachian miners are distinctive. Because mining has been socially constructed as “men’s work” in a one-industry region, women have had difficulty finding paid employment other than minimum-wage service jobs. Appalachian mining communities are, of course, isolated from urban feminist organizations, but they are increasingly exposed to feminist ideas by the media, primarily television. The chapter describes important features of their gender-specific class consciousness and its adjustments to the coal employment crisis.

Publication Name

Bringing Class Back In: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives

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