Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley

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University of Illinois Press, 1982 - History - 267 pages
"Using Clear Fork Valley in central Appalachia as an empirical example, Gaventa attempts to discern the 'hidden faces of power'--those forces which shape actions and consciousness in ways not readily apparent in formal American political processes. He seeks to clarify and expand upon past theories (by such writers as Bachrach and Lukes) on the nature and maintenance of power. The region studied here is characterized by stark incongruity--the co-existence of massive natural wealth (coal and land) with pervasive human poverty attended by high unemployment, limited education, malnutrition, and the prevalent hazards of mining coal: black lung, dismemberment, death, and ecological ruin. This has been the region's status quo under the decades of domination by a British company and its absentee owners. Despite these departure conditions and frequently violent union struggles, culminating in the 1969 murder of UMW reformist Jock Yablonski, acquiescence to this status quo has been maintained. Gaventa searches out the answers to how and why wealth and poverty continue to coexist and the powerless continue to accede to the powerful. His astute analysis poses broader questions about the politics of poverty, working-class consciousness, and corporate power in America"--Publisher's website.
 

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Contents

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About the author (1982)

John Gaventa, a Tennessee native, received his doctorate from Oxford University. He has written widely on the Appalachian region in academic and popular journals. He is now employed at the Highlander Research and Education Center, an adult education center which works closely with community and labor groups in the Appalachian and southern regions of the United States.

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