Open towns and manipulated indebtedness among agricultural workers in the New South
Article first published online: 7 JAN 2008
Volume 31, Issue 4, pages 530–551, November 2004
How to Cite
Bletzer, K. V. (2004), Open towns and manipulated indebtedness among agricultural workers in the New South. American Ethnologist, 31: 530–551. doi: 10.1525/ae.2004.31.4.530
- Issue published online: 7 JAN 2008
- Article first published online: 7 JAN 2008
Reselling consumable commodities like food, alcohol, and cigarettes to agricultural workers has long been a strategy of control and indebtedness used by North American labor bosses to manage workers in situations of demanding and risky work. Recent inclusion of crack cocaine among advanced commodities has brought new risks for workers, as it has permitted them a precarious means to enter a once-restricted resale domain, and it has altered strategies of control and profit by labor contractors by conferring a veneer of independence on workers. Discussion emphasizes an inside view of crack distribution amidst the shifting agencies and counteragencies between labor and management.