Global Heartland
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Connect: Author website Framing the Global website Global Studies on Facebook

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.


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

Part II. Displaced Labor
3. "Michoacán'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



Publié par
Date de parution 07 janvier 2016
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253019424
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


GLOBAL RESEARCH STUDIES The Global Research Studies series is part of the Framing the Global project, an initiative of Indiana University Press and the Indiana University Center for the Study of Global Change, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Advisory Committee
Alfred C. Aman Jr.
Eduardo Brondizio
Maria Bucur
Bruce L. Jaffee
Patrick O Meara
Radhika Parameswaran
Heidi Ross
Richard R. Wilk
Displaced Labor, Transnational Lives, and Local Placemaking
This book is a publication of
INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS Office of Scholarly Publishing Herman B Wells Library 350 1320 East 10th Street Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2016 by Faranak Miraftab All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z 39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Miraftab, Faranak, author.
Title: Global heartland : displaced labor, transnational lives, and local placemaking / Faranak Miraftab.
Description: Bloomington : Indiana University Press, [2016] | Series: Global research studies | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2015032159 | ISBN 9780253019271 (cloth : alk. paper) | ISBN 9780253019349 (pbk. : alk. paper) | ISBN 9780253019424 (ebook)
Subjects: LCSH: Communities-Illinois-Beardstown. | Multiculturalism-Illinois-Beardstown. | Immigrants-Illinois-Beardstown-Social conditions. | Economic development-Social aspects-Illinois-Beardstown. | Beardstown (Ill.)-Ethnic relations-History. | Beardstown (Ill.)-Emigration and immigration-Economic aspects-History. | Beardstown (Ill.)-Social conditions-21st century. | Beardstown (Ill.)-Economic conditions-21st century.
Classification: LCC HN80.B43 M57 2016 | DDC 305.8009773/465-dc23
LC record available at
1 2 3 4 5 21 20 19 18 17 16
In memory of Farshad-e nazaneen To maman, Ken, Rahi, and Omeed
Introduction: The Global Heartland
Part I: Beardstown: A Place in the World
1 Welcome to Porkopolis
2 It All Changed Overnight
Part II: Displaced Labor
3 Michoac n s Largest Export Is People
4 Winning the Lottery 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: Demographic and Labor Tables, Profile of Interviewees
I WRITE THESE WORDS IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, WHERE I AM spending the tail end of my sabbatical leave and where recent days have seen the unfortunate outbreak of violence against poor black African migrants. These attacks, which started in Durban and spread out to Cape Town, have occurred by and large in townships, informal settlements, and areas where poor people live. Nationwide, many African migrants have been injured and killed, businesses have been looted or burned down, and thousands of people have been displaced, forcing them to seek refuge at police stations, churches, and temporary accommodations set up by NGOs. Attackers accuse African foreign nationals of stealing jobs from citizens -accusations too similar to those I heard about immigrants in the United States as I did my research for this book.
In the aftermath of these tragic events, I helped facilitate two meetings of African immigrant poor who live in Cape Town s townships, informal settlements, and low-income areas at the invitation of the International Labor Research Interest Group, a local NGO that collaborates with an emerging citywide movement called the Housing Assembly (HA). The Afro-phobic violence, as some call it, spurred the HA to revisit their slogan of Decent Housing for All in order to explore how migrants and foreign nationals can be included in the All for whom they campaign. These conversations were initiated to overcome racial divisions among the working-class poor, as well as differences over citizenship, and to build solidarity. The plight and pain of migrants as expressed in their powerful testimonials confirm the need for careful and critical study of migration and global labor mobility. This is the area my book explores. Because current global capitalism produces and feeds off intense processes of labor displacement, it is urgent that the social and spatial dimensions of such processes be taken seriously, both locally and globally, and that the instability in categories of belonging based on national, racial, and ethnic identities be acknowledged. Moreover, as I argue and demonstrate in this book, we need to use political-economic structural explanations along with sociocultural ethnographic insights to achieve a relational understanding of what is occurring. For it is through such a relational understanding that we may also help achieve a recognition of commonalities among diverse poor people, even, as the recent violence against African migrants in South Africa reminds us, in the face of potent and volatile differences. With its historical and transnational scope, I hope my book will serve as one step toward bridging national, racial, ethnic, linguistic, and legal differences and building solidarities among the poor and working classes.
May 2015
DURING THE DECADE-LONG RESEARCH AND WRITING OF THIS BOOK , I have been inspired and assisted by many individuals who have shared with me their stories, knowledge, and insights.
First and foremost, my gratitude goes to those who trusted me with their stories in Illinois, in Mexico, and in Togo. While they must remain nameless here, I wish to say to anyone whom I interviewed and whose words I wrote down or recorded, I am tremendously grateful to you. Without you this book would not exist. I also want to give special thanks to my assistants during field work in Togo and in Mexico, who provided invaluable local and transnational insights. Again, because they are closely linked with my Beardstown interviewees, I cannot name these assistants. But you know who you are. To each and every one of you, interviewees and assistants, I owe an inexpressible debt.
I am also grateful to the reviewers of the manuscript and to my friends and colleagues who read all or parts of the manuscript. Their critical comments have sharpened and enriched my analyses and made this book stronger, but of course they are not responsible for its shortcomings. Above all I thank Arlie Hochschild, my mentor and inspiration, for her careful reading of the manuscript and insightful commentary. Her enthusiasm about this project and her intellectual contribution have been indispensable. I am also grateful to the Hochschilds for their generosity affording me a room of one s own in Berkeley for a much-needed writing retreat. I thank Lew Hopkins, my esteemed planning colleague, who read the manuscript in its entirety, offered helpful comments, and stressed how the Beardstown story, which is ultimately about placemaking, would be of core interest and importance to planning scholars. For their comments on draft chapters of this manuscript, I am deeply indebted to James Barrett, Charles Piot, David Wilson, Jan Nedervene Pieterse, Matthew Sanderson, Carla Paciotto, Nancy Abelmann, Zsuzsa Gille, Rachel Schurman, Ken Salo, and Zohreh Sullivan, as well as a longtime Beardstown resident who must also remain anonymous. I am also thankful to Zsuzsa Gille, with whom I spent a summer working on our manuscripts daily and reflecting on our day s work every evening. These rich conversations were both fun and stimulating. With Rachel Schurman, I have had many helpful conversations while walking or cooking in Minneapolis or Champaign. Nancy Abelmann s writing workshop and most importantly her critical review of the main ethnographic material used in two of the book chapters were instrumental. Many other friends and colleagues have contributed to this book by focused and stimulating discussion of the project or through informal dinner and coffee conversations. For engagement with my arguments, I thank Betsy Esch, Dave Roediger; James Loewen, Zohreh Sullivan, Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Dede Ruggles, Terri Barnes, Peter Marcuse, Rochelle Gutierrez, and Eileen Diaz McConnell. With Eileen Diaz McConnell I also conducted fieldwork in Beardstown during 2006, a collaboration that resulted in joint publications, as well as insights cited in this book. Lois Guarnizo and Michael Peter Smith, whose work has inspired this project from the beginning, made helpful comments on an earlier draft of chapter 8 . I thank Zohreh Sullivan for her enthusiastic support throughout the project and for responding to my many requests for weighing in on specific points in the manuscript. She never fell short at any dinner gathering with friends and colleagues to remind me and them of the incredible Beardstown story to be told. I am also grateful to my colleagues at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Champa

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