Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Geosciences

First Advisor

Dr. Katherine Hankins

Abstract

Labor geographers have identified multiple strategies through which workers assert their demands in an era of global production networks. In this thesis I examine the strategic organizational actions of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a community-based organization representing immigrant farm-workers in southwestern Florida. Central to the successes of the CIW is its strategy to organize and embed its agency in civil society. Social actors have proved to be of vital importance as they enabled the CIW to position itself strategically in important locations of the production network to contest capitalist geographies more effectively. Using qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with representatives of churches, religious-community organizations, and interfaith non-profits working with the CIW, I argue that the CIW‘s strategies theoretically expands our understanding of labor agency and how spatiality, and specifically place, shapes the potential for workers‘ agency.

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