Working Women, Entrepreneurs, and the Mexican Revolution
The Coffee Culture of Cůrdoba, Veracruz
Publication Year: 2013
In the 1890s, Spanish entrepreneurs spearheaded the emergence of Córdoba, Veracruz, as Mexico’s largest commercial center for coffee preparation and export to the Atlantic community. Seasonal women workers quickly became the major part of the agroindustry’s labor force. As they grew in numbers and influence in the first half of the twentieth century, these women shaped the workplace culture and contested gender norms through labor union activism and strong leadership. Their fight for workers’ rights was supported by the revolutionary state and negotiated within its industrial-labor institutions until they were replaced by machines in the 1960s.
Heather Fowler-Salamini’s Working Women, Entrepreneurs, and the Mexican Revolution analyzes the interrelationships between the region’s immigrant entrepreneurs, workforce, labor movement, gender relations, and culture on the one hand, and social revolution, modernization and the Atlantic community on the other between the 1890s and the 1960s. Using extensive archival research and oral-history interviews, Fowler-Salamini illustrates the ways in which the immigrant and women’s work cultures transformed Córdoba’s regional coffee economy and in turn influenced the development of the nation’s coffee agro-export industry and its labor force.
Published by: University of Nebraska Press
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List of Illustrations.
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List of Maps
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List of Tables
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Th is project has led me down many diff erent paths that I could hard-ly have anticipated when I started. Many people have off ered me their wholehearted support on this marvelous journey. I want to fi rst ac-knowledge the warm and continuous support that I received from so many Veracruzanos in this endeavor. Without their help, I could nev-...
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In March 1965 the coff ee exporters of C√≥rdoba, Veracruz, laid off all the women workers who cleaned their green coff ee, and replaced them with electronic sorting machines in their preparation plants (benefi cios). Th is decision marked the conclusion of a seventy-year state‚Äôs coff ee agroindustry. As the Diario de Xalapa had noted at the ...
1. Emergence of a Coffee Commercial Elite in Córdoba, Veracruz
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...tered into a commercial agreement with a British and a German en-trepreneur in C√≥rdoba, Veracruz, to buy, prepare, and export coff ee to Europe and the United States in 1895, he created the fi rst major agro-export business that functioned as a commercial intermediary between Mexican coff ee producers and the Atlantic community. Th is ...
2. Work, Gender, and Workshop Culture
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Th e semimechanization of coff ee preparation in the 1880s and 1890s in Central Veracruz‚Äôs highland towns necessitated the hiring of a new labor force to remove the inner skins, dry, polish, classify, and sort the beans to prepare the green coff ee for export. Since no machine had been invented by then to sort or clean coff ee, women and chil-...
3. Sorters’ Negotiations with Exporters and the State
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Th e political and socioeconomic chaos and insecurity brought on by ties for Veracruz seasonal workers to organize, take to the streets, and demand rights. In certain respects, they enjoyed more opportunities for mobilization than any other coff ee-producing state. Veracruz had larger exports, the nation‚Äôs major port, and a long history of labor mil-...
4. Caciquismo, Organized Labor, and Gender
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If you were to enter the headquarters of the local federation of the crom in C√≥rdoba, Veracruz, you would fi nd a plaque, installed in 1972, with the names of the six most outstanding union leaders of the region. Two of the names are those of escogedoras, In√©s Reyes Ochoa and Sof√≠a Castro Gonz√°lez. Th ese two leaders, along with a dozen ...
5. Everyday Experiences and Obrera Culture
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When the anthropologist Julio de la Fuente observed that the escoge-doras were one of the key social groups in C√≥rdoba‚Äôs emerging work-ing class in the early 1940s, he was highlighting their singular impor-tance among the city‚Äôs working poor.1 Understanding the nature of tionships between their everyday experiences in the workplace, the ...
6. Coffee Entrepreneurs, Workers, and the State Confront the Challenges of Modernization
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Th e full mechanization of Veracruz‚Äôs coff ee plants and the replace-ment of its thousands of coff ee sorters with electronic sorters were inevitable by the 1950s, but the ways in which labor, the agro-export industry, and the state responded to this process of modernization needs exploration. Th e relationship of these three actors during the ...
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Th is regional history from below sought to tease out the interrela-tionships between entrepreneurs, workers, labor movements, gender relations, and culture on the one hand and social revolution, immi-gration, modernization, and the Atlantic coff ee market on the other. Th eir interaction helped to shape the evolution of Mexico‚Äôs coff ee ...
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Page Count: 456
Illustrations: 13 illustrations, 2 maps, 13 tables
Publication Year: 2013