The lie of the land: migrant workers and the California landscape

D. Mitchell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter


The beauty of the California landscape is integral to its place in the imagination of generations of people around the world. This book looks at the human costs associated with this famous scenery. Through an account of the labor history of the state, the author examines the material and ideological struggles over living and working conditions that played a large part in the construction of the contemporary California landscape. The book examines the way the California landscape was built on the backs of migrant workers, focusing on migratory labor and agribusiness before WWII. The book relates the historical geography of California to the processes of labor that made it, discussing not only significant strikes but also on the everyday existence of migrant workers in the labor camps, fields, and "Hoovervilles' where they lived. The author places class struggle at the heart of social development, demonstrating concretely how farm workers affected their social and material environment, as well as exploring how farm owners responded to their workers' efforts to improve their living and working conditions; and places "reformers' in context, revealing the actual nature of their role in relation to migrant workers' efforts - that of undermining the struggle for genuine social change. -from Publisher

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe lie of the land: migrant workers and the California landscape
PublisherUniversity of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis
ISBN (Print)0816626928, 0816626936
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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