Cultivating Governance: The Production of Mushrooms and Mushroom Workers

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Johnston, Hannah
Governmentality , Discipline , Immigration , Mushrooms , Farmworkers , Gender , Farm work
This thesis examines how the liberalization of United States agriculture has affected the everyday experiences of labor, and laborers. Centered on a case study of mushroom production in Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, this thesis explores the role of governmentality in shaping the daily work experience of labor employed in the industry. Situated within feminist geographic debates regarding gender and work, this thesis argues that normalized and stereotypical understandings of gender, ethnicity, and immigrant status have become tools of discipline that encourage particular performances of work within mushroom houses. The disciplinary strategies explored in this thesis are comprised of rules, procedures, regulations, and dispositions, and are deployed in a complementarily manner to maximize profit generated by laborers. Ultimately these disciplinary measures have become integral for Southern Chester County to both maximize profits and maintain its prominent location as the largest mushroom cultivating region in the United States.
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