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Cigarettes, Inc.An Intimate History of Corporate Imperialism$
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Nan Enstad

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226533285

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226533452.001.0001

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Making a Transnational Cigarette Factory Labor Force

Making a Transnational Cigarette Factory Labor Force

(p.120) 4 Making a Transnational Cigarette Factory Labor Force
Cigarettes, Inc.

Nan Enstad

University of Chicago Press

This chapter traces the growth of cigarette factories, the process of factory management, and unrest in both China and the US. In the US, factories moved to North Carolina from New York City and managers replaced a nineteenth century system of using white women workers at cigarette machines with sharp job segmentation by race and gender based in Jim Crow segregation. In the same years in China, factory managers from the Upper South applied a similar system of segmentation of factory tasks but in this case by gender and native place origin. In both countries, workers’ movement, uniforms, and use of cigarettes also divided by gender and race or native place origin. Corporations served as significant sites of governance in each place, and extralegal organizations played a key role in factory management and order. In China, “gangs” functioned as a mix of professional and regional organizations; in the Upper South, the Ku Klux Klan enforced order at the factory as well as in town. Strikes shook each industry—China in the 1920s and the US in the 1930s—as workers struggled to have a voice in the corporation.

Keywords:   factory, labor, corporation, segregation, strike, China, Ku Klux Klan, gender, North Carolina, cigarette

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