Chapter

Miner's Consumption

Janet L. Finn

in Tracing the Veins

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1998 | ISBN: 9780520211360
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520920071 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520211360.003.0006
Miner's Consumption

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This chapter draws on the popular name for silicosis—miner's consumption—as a powerful metaphor for the many forms of wasting that penetrated mining life. The plots, the actors, and the nature and consequences of the consumptive forces varied with the storyteller and setting. Through their stories of consumption, men and women speak of their differing experiences of class relations and of the struggles along gender lines that those experiences entailed. Mining men faced the threat of consumption in a literal sense through their daily encounters with the dangerous conditions of labor. Working-class women's experiences were often articulated through the discourse and practices of consumption as they struggled to fulfill their responsibilities as stewards of family and community.

Keywords: wasting; mining life; miner's consumption; labor dangers; working women

Chapter.  10102 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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