[URBANTH-L]Do you Live in a Company Town?

mckennab at umd.umich.edu mckennab at umd.umich.edu
Wed Jul 29 12:57:48 EDT 2009

Urban Anthropologists:

I'm doing research on the "new company town," and am looking for  
opinions, key informants and studies.

The old company town, of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, was  
usually characterized by capital on the frontier, where they were  
involved in extraction (iron, copper, mining of some sort), or  
production in an area that benefited from a tight economy of scale  
and/or/ cheap land, labor and raw materials.

Labor was closely regulated, unions banned (except for company  
unions), and the labor force was highly dependent on the company for  
all aspects of existence.

The environment was trashed.

The "new company town," in the US, at least, is once again  
characterized by the domination of capital, only this time, like a  
proto-fascist state, there is nearly complete coordination with local  
and state governments. The modes of consensual and coercive control  
are borne of neoliberal and authoritarian premises (see Wolin's  
inverse totalitarianism) in which the "Spell" of local culture is  
reinforces by: universities, the media, sports ideology and civic life.

Once again, unions are generally missing in action.

This time the rulers appropriate the discourse of their interlocutors  
and claim that the cities and town are free and green.

Greater Lansing Michigan is a symbolic "new company town," with  
interlocking domination by media, Michigan State University, local  
governments and, even, to a larger degree than expected, the  
environmental movement!

I have been detailing the abilities of Dow Chemical to control the  
discourse in Greater Lansing and the State at large. . .but this is  
true for many large corporations.

Radical adherents who challenge capital are bullied, banned or  
silenced. . .even by "progressive" non-profits, academics and  

Do YOU consider your city or town a company town?

What are its features?

Can I interview you?

Thank you in advance.


Brian McKenna

Quoting Lance Arney <lance.arney at gmail.com>:

> Dear all,
> I am wondering if anyone on the urbanth listserv could suggest to me where I
> might find sources of funding for studying the criminalization of
> racial/ethnic minority youth living in situations of poverty. I am doing an
> exhaustive search, and I do not want to overlook any possibilities. This is
> for my dissertation research, which focuses on the experiences and
> perspectives of minority youth living in a low-income neighborhood in a
> large U.S. city. Like youth in urban ghettos in other cities across the
> country (and the world), they are the daily targets of police harassment and
> violence and they are being criminalized through a variety of social
> institutions, public policies, media, and popular discourses. I am working
> with a local youth activist nonprofit organization, and my research has a
> PAR component. If you know of any potential sources of funding, be they for
> dissertation research or for community based organizations, please let me
> know off list at Lance.Arney at gmail.com.
> Thank you,
> Lance
> Lance A. Arney, M.A.
> Ph.D. Candidate and Instructor
> Department of Anthropology
> University of South Florida
> 4202 E. Fowler Ave, SOC 107
> Tampa, FL 33620
> e-mail: larney at mail.usf.edu
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