Harvests of shame: enduring unfree labour in twentieth century United States (1933-1964)

Pizzolato, Nicola (2018) Harvests of shame: enduring unfree labour in twentieth century United States (1933-1964). Labor History, 59 (4). pp. 472-490. ISSN 0023-656X (doi:10.1080/0023656X.2018.1467259)

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Abstract

This article reframes the discussion on vulnerable and exploited agricultural labour in twentieth-century United States using the overarching category of unfree labour. In order to do so, it bridges two usually distinct historiographies by linking the phenomenon of ‘peonage’ during the New Deal, with the one of immigrant contract labour southern Florida, under the H2 visa. Archival research on the practices at the US Sugar Corporation in southern Florida exemplifies this link. This article draws on federal archives, government proceedings, papers of political activists and legal and labour scholarship to argue: firstly, that unfree labour has been an enduring feature of agricultural labour relations at regional level during the twentieth century, through both a transmission and a transformation of practice that had their origin in the control of black emancipated labour; secondly, that the introduction of guest workers under the H2 and Bracero programme meant a modernization in the practices of unfree labour, pivoting on the lack of citizenship rights, racial discrimination, debt at home, and threat of deportation; and, finally, that the failure to recognise forms of legal and economic deprivation and coercion as unfree labour has hurt the ability of the United States to enforce protection of human rights at home.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations
Item ID: 23413
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Labor History on 09/05/2018, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/0023656X.2018.1467259
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Depositing User: Nico Pizzolato
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2018 16:12
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2019 18:39
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/23413

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