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

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In recent decades, Beardstown, Illinois, like other towns of the Midwest’s rural rustbelt, experienced population decline and economic stagnation. The meat processing plant that is the town’s main employer replaced its white, native-born workforce by recruiting laborers from Mexico, West Africa, and Detroit, and the newcomers transformed and revitalized this former “sundow In recent decades, Beardstown, Illinois, like other towns of the Midwest’s rural rustbelt, experienced population decline and economic stagnation. The meat processing plant that is the town’s main employer replaced its white, native-born workforce by recruiting laborers from Mexico, West Africa, and Detroit, and the newcomers transformed and revitalized this former “sundown town.” Faranak Miraftab draws on ethnographic research in Beardstown, Mexico, and Togo to analyze a space that is often overlooked in scholarship on globalization. Tracing the global processes that produce displaced workers and the social relationships that maintain them, she offers a fresh perspective on place and placemaking.


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In recent decades, Beardstown, Illinois, like other towns of the Midwest’s rural rustbelt, experienced population decline and economic stagnation. The meat processing plant that is the town’s main employer replaced its white, native-born workforce by recruiting laborers from Mexico, West Africa, and Detroit, and the newcomers transformed and revitalized this former “sundow In recent decades, Beardstown, Illinois, like other towns of the Midwest’s rural rustbelt, experienced population decline and economic stagnation. The meat processing plant that is the town’s main employer replaced its white, native-born workforce by recruiting laborers from Mexico, West Africa, and Detroit, and the newcomers transformed and revitalized this former “sundown town.” Faranak Miraftab draws on ethnographic research in Beardstown, Mexico, and Togo to analyze a space that is often overlooked in scholarship on globalization. Tracing the global processes that produce displaced workers and the social relationships that maintain them, she offers a fresh perspective on place and placemaking.

41 review for Global Heartland: Displaced Labor, Transnational Lives, and Local Placemaking

  1. 4 out of 5

    David

    I really enjoyed this book. I actually live within driving distance of Beardstown (the topic of the book) and I have always been fascinated by the diverse immigrant population that lives there.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Faranak Miraftab’s 2016 monograph, Global Heartland: Displaced Labor, Transnational Lives, and Local Placemaking is on the forces that created an international ‘neo-liberal’ or a ‘free market capitalist’ company town in Beardstown, Illinois. Beardstown has a large meat-packing factory that is run by the Excel Corporation, a part of the corporation, Cargill. A sizable portion of the Togolese workforce and other West Africans live in the neighboring town of Rushville. Both Beardstown and Rushville Faranak Miraftab’s 2016 monograph, Global Heartland: Displaced Labor, Transnational Lives, and Local Placemaking is on the forces that created an international ‘neo-liberal’ or a ‘free market capitalist’ company town in Beardstown, Illinois. Beardstown has a large meat-packing factory that is run by the Excel Corporation, a part of the corporation, Cargill. A sizable portion of the Togolese workforce and other West Africans live in the neighboring town of Rushville. Both Beardstown and Rushville are former ‘sun-town’ towns, towns where blacks were kept from staying overnight through the use of violence or the threat of violence. This era in the history of Beardstown and Rushville ended in the 1980s when non-white migrant workers recruited by Cargill began to settle in both communities. Miraftab is a professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois. The meat-packing plant in Beardstown as of 2016 has a diverse workforce, with sizable portions coming from Michoacan state in Mexico, Togo, and Detroit, Michigan, along with workers from Beardstown itself and other places. Miraftab traveled to Michoacan and Togo while writing the monograph. Miraftab is successful in creating a monograph that illustrates the complexity of the forces that locate Beardstown in the world both economically and socially.

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