Global Heartland

Global Heartland : Displaced Labor, Transnational Lives, and Local Placemaking

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Global Heartland is the account of diverse, dispossessed, and displaced people brought together in a former sundown town in Illinois. Recruited to work in the local meat-processing plant, African Americans, Mexicans, and West Africans re-create the town in unexpected ways. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in the US, Mexico, and Togo, Faranak Miraftab shows how this workforce is produced for the global labor market; how the displaced workers' transnational lives help them stay in these jobs; and how they negotiate their relationships with each other across the lines of ethnicity, race, language, and nationality as they make a new home. Beardstown is not an exception but an example of local-global connections that make for local development. Focusing on a locality in a non-metropolitan region, this work contributes to urban scholarship on globalization by offering a fresh perspective on politics and materialities of placemaking.

Winner: Davidoff Book Award, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP)
Winner: Global & Transnational Sociology section Book Award, American Sociological Association (ASA)
Finalist: C. Wright Mills Book Award, Society for Study of Social Problems (SSSP)
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Product details

  • Paperback | 310 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 20.32mm | 399g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 40 b&w illus., 7 tables
  • 0253019346
  • 9780253019349
  • 1,000,243

Review quote

In Faranak Miraftab's book, Global Heartland, the life of the meatpacker is vividly brought to life. Miraftab studies the lived-realities of meatpacking laborers to understand how the industry has influenced the economic revitalization and social transformation of the small, rural community of Beardstown, Illinois, while arguing that the thriving economy and cultural diversity successes of the area obscure larger narratives about the unequal global ties that enabled these changes. * Antipode * Faranak Miraftab's powerful and, at times, very personal study of the meat-packing industry in

Beardstown, Illinois, offers an exemplary analysis of the relational character of place. The book challenges us to think seriously about places that are all too often located at the periphery of mainstream urban theory. * AAG Review of Books *
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About Faranak Miraftab

Faranak Miraftab is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is author of Women's Empowerment: Participation in Shelter Strategies at the Community Level in Urban Informal Settlements and editor(with David Wilson and Ken Salo) of Cities and Inequalities in a Global and Neoliberal World, (with Neema Kudva) Cities of the Global South Reader, and (with Victoria A. Beard and Chris Silver) Planning and Decentralization: Contested Spaces for Public Action in the Global South.
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Table of contents


Part I. Beardstown: A Place in the World
1. Welcome to Porkopolis
2. It All Changed Overnight

Part II. Displaced Labor
3. "Michoacan's Largest Export is People"
4. "Winning the Lotto in Togo"
5. Detroit: "The First Third World City of the U.S."

Part III. Outsourced Lives
6. Global Restructuring of Social Reproduction

Part IV. We Wanted Workers, We Got People
7. We Wanted Workers
8. We Got People
Conclusion: The Global in my Backyard

Appendix 1: Population and Labor Tables
Appendix 2: Schedule and Profile of Interviewees
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Rating details

7 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 57% (4)
4 14% (1)
3 14% (1)
2 14% (1)
1 0% (0)
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