I’ve been impressed that Wade and Ferree have so clearly linked the changes in gender strategies, family forms, and gendered employment patterns to changes in the economy, and I want to provide an occasion to reflect further about the economic underpinnings of American genders.
I have paired a reading and a video (on the Week 06 page) that I’d like for you to reflect upon and comment on. Both focus on the coal mining industry, a subject that was featured in our 2016 presidential debate and that was referenced by Pres. Trump in his speech announcing his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. http://svsu.kanopystreaming.com/video/hard-coal-la… https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2017/06/05/w…
- The reading I’ve included argues that the reason we are interested in protecting the coal industry isn’t about jobs but rather about trying to protect a particular type of blue-collar, working-class masculinity.
- The video provides an ethnographic examination of the lives of independent (not corporate) coal miners. As you watch the video, think about the kinds of gender strategies the men are employing and how their jobs support that, think about the role their home lives and their families play in their construction of masculinity, think about how their assertions about the government and the large corporate coal producers play into their gender strategies.
In commenting on the reading and the video, I’m curious to know:
- What gender strategies did you identify from the ethnographic depiction in the video?
- Can we imagine other social settings in which these men might be able to reconstruct the gender strategies they rely upon to live their lives?
- If the coal industry is dying – a remnant of a lingering and dwindling nineteenth-century industrial economy – the economic base upon which these men are able to maintain their gender strategy will be lost; is this an important enough reason to shift the national economic policy to supporting coal production?
You don’t have to answer all of these question, but I think I’d like you to keep them in mind as you read the article and watch the video.