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Tracing the Veins

Of Copper, Culture, and Community from Butte to Chuquicamata

Janet L. Finn (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 347 pages
ISBN: 9780520211377
August 1998
$33.95, £24.95
This tale of two cities—Butte, Montana, and Chuquicamata, Chile—traces the relationship of capitalism and community across cultural, national, and geographic boundaries. Combining social history with ethnography, Janet Finn shows how the development of copper mining set in motion parallel processes involving distinctive constructions of community, class, and gender in the two widely separated but intimately related sites. While the rich veins of copper in the Rockies and the Andes flowed for the giant Anaconda Company, the miners and their families in both places struggled to make a life as well as a living for themselves.

Miner's consumption, a popular name for silicosis, provides a powerful metaphor for the danger, wasting, and loss that penetrated mining life. Finn explores themes of privation and privilege, trust and betrayal, and offers a new model for community studies that links local culture and global capitalism.
Janet L. Finn is Assistant Professor of Social Work and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of Montana.
"Novel, engaging, and interesting. . . . [Finn] conveys the urgency of understanding the intertwining sources of conflict and struggle in the contemporary world."—Benjamin S. Orlove, University of California, Davis

"Finn blends trenchant scholarship and stylistic mastery with exceptional intelligence. If this is not cutting edge, I just wonder what is."—Jean-Paul Dumont, George Mason University

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