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Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization

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Deindustrialization is not simply an economic process, but a social and cultural one as well. The rusting detritus of our industrial past--the wrecked hulks of factories, abandoned machinery too large to remove, and now-useless infrastructures--has for decades been a part of the North American landscape. In recent years, however, these modern ruins have become cultural att Deindustrialization is not simply an economic process, but a social and cultural one as well. The rusting detritus of our industrial past--the wrecked hulks of factories, abandoned machinery too large to remove, and now-useless infrastructures--has for decades been a part of the North American landscape. In recent years, however, these modern ruins have become cultural attractions, drawing increasing numbers of adventurers, artists, and those curious about a forgotten heritage.Through a unique blend of oral history, photographs, and interpretive essays, Corporate Wasteland investigates this fascinating terrain and the phenomenon of its loss and rediscovery. Steven High and David W. Lewis begin by exploring an emerging aesthetic they term the deindustrial sublime, explaining how the ritualized demolition of landmark industrial structures served as dramatic punctuations between changing eras. They then follow the narrative path blazed by urban spelunkers, explorers who infiltrate former industrial sites and then share accounts and images of their exploits in a vibrant online community. And to understand the ways in which geographic and emotional proximity affects how deindustrialization is remembered and represented, High and Lewis focus on Youngstown, Ohio, where residents and former steelworkers still live amid the reminders of more prosperous times. Corporate Wasteland concludes with photo essays of sites in Michigan, Ontario, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania that pair haunting images with the poignant testimonies of those who remember industrial sites as workplaces rather than monuments. Forcing readers to look beyond nostalgia, High and Lewis reinterpret our deindustrialized landscape as a historical and imaginative challenge to the ways in which we comprehend and respond to the profound disruptions wrought by globalization.


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Deindustrialization is not simply an economic process, but a social and cultural one as well. The rusting detritus of our industrial past--the wrecked hulks of factories, abandoned machinery too large to remove, and now-useless infrastructures--has for decades been a part of the North American landscape. In recent years, however, these modern ruins have become cultural att Deindustrialization is not simply an economic process, but a social and cultural one as well. The rusting detritus of our industrial past--the wrecked hulks of factories, abandoned machinery too large to remove, and now-useless infrastructures--has for decades been a part of the North American landscape. In recent years, however, these modern ruins have become cultural attractions, drawing increasing numbers of adventurers, artists, and those curious about a forgotten heritage.Through a unique blend of oral history, photographs, and interpretive essays, Corporate Wasteland investigates this fascinating terrain and the phenomenon of its loss and rediscovery. Steven High and David W. Lewis begin by exploring an emerging aesthetic they term the deindustrial sublime, explaining how the ritualized demolition of landmark industrial structures served as dramatic punctuations between changing eras. They then follow the narrative path blazed by urban spelunkers, explorers who infiltrate former industrial sites and then share accounts and images of their exploits in a vibrant online community. And to understand the ways in which geographic and emotional proximity affects how deindustrialization is remembered and represented, High and Lewis focus on Youngstown, Ohio, where residents and former steelworkers still live amid the reminders of more prosperous times. Corporate Wasteland concludes with photo essays of sites in Michigan, Ontario, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania that pair haunting images with the poignant testimonies of those who remember industrial sites as workplaces rather than monuments. Forcing readers to look beyond nostalgia, High and Lewis reinterpret our deindustrialized landscape as a historical and imaginative challenge to the ways in which we comprehend and respond to the profound disruptions wrought by globalization.

35 review for Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mariel

    My biggest issue, which is more with the people the book is about than the book itself, is the idea that there was any nationalist motivation behind American companies closing Canadian plants. It's not as if those same American companies treated American workers in the American plants they shut down any better than the Canadian workers, and I wish the author addressed that. The chapter on urban exploration made me think of the literature of post-industrial tourism I read ages ago. Decontextualiz My biggest issue, which is more with the people the book is about than the book itself, is the idea that there was any nationalist motivation behind American companies closing Canadian plants. It's not as if those same American companies treated American workers in the American plants they shut down any better than the Canadian workers, and I wish the author addressed that. The chapter on urban exploration made me think of the literature of post-industrial tourism I read ages ago. Decontextualization of industrial sites combined with overt consumerism and "edu-tainment." The image on the cover is from Pittsburgh.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    An interesting look at the stories behind US Rustbelt cities and some cases closer to home in Canada.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Mackie

  4. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chad

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brian Durance

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tim Prizer

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

  10. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brian J. Farester

  12. 5 out of 5

    Angelia

  13. 4 out of 5

    Keith

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anne

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chandler Mundell

  17. 4 out of 5

    lou

  18. 4 out of 5

    Keith

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maura Bainbridge

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vesna

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael Brickey

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ralph Rizzo

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lyndsay

  26. 4 out of 5

    sarah

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie McGarrah

  28. 4 out of 5

    Liliana AmundaraĆ­n

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tracy & Paul

  30. 5 out of 5

    Holly

  31. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  32. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  33. 4 out of 5

    Victor Cosby

  34. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  35. 4 out of 5

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