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Title Gender, Labor, and Capitalism in U.S.-Mexican Relations, 1942–2000
Publication Date
Degree MA
Discipline/Department Latin American Studies (International Studies)
Degree Level masters
University/Publisher Ohio University
Abstract This thesis explores how throughout the twentieth century, the U.S. government worked closely with American businesses and the Mexican government to favor profitability over the social conditions of Mexican workers in the Bracero Program (1942-1964) and the Border Industrialization Program, or BIP (1964-2000). In both programs, Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) tailored each program to American employers’ ideals of the most cost-efficient, most productive, and least resistant workforce for each individual program by exploiting gender. While in the Bracero Program, U.S. farmers favored single, male laborers, in the BIP, U.S. employers preferred single, female workers. The author conducted a series of oral history interviews with former braceros and maquiladora workers in order to draw comparisons between their experiences under U.S. capitalism in the twentieth century. Under each program, male braceros and female maquiladora workers shared similar experiences with low wages, substandard living conditions, and other human rights violations.
Subjects/Keywords Agriculture; Economic History; Gender; Hispanic Americans; History; International Relations; Labor Economics; Labor Relations; Latin American History; Womens Studies; maquiladoras; braceros; Bracero Program; gender; Mexico; U.S.-Mexican relations; U.S. capitalism; capitalism; history; labor; PRI
Contributors Barr-Melej, Patrick (Committee Chair)
Language en
Rights unrestricted ; This thesis or dissertation is protected by copyright: all rights reserved. It may not be copied or redistributed beyond the terms of applicable copyright laws.
Country of Publication us
Format application/pdf
Record ID oai:etd.ohiolink.edu:ohiou1243907962
Repository ohiolink
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2020-10-19
Grantor Ohio University

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…x29; depended on the U.S. to provide its citizens with employment under the Bracero Program (1942-1964) and the Border Industrialization Program, or BIP (1964-2000). In both programs, the PRI cultivated a “docile” Mexican workforce…

…central feature of the process.”3 Under the Bracero Program, the U.S. exclusively contracted Mexican men to work on farms and railroads. The U.S. never included women in the program, even though farmers had previously hired Mexican men, women, and children…

…passively obey their employers.7 When the Bracero Program ended in 1964, a group of Mexican entrepreneurs, with support from the PRI, created the BIP to provide jobs for the 3 Leslie Salzinger, Genders in Production: Making Workers in Mexico’s Global…

…from the beginning of the program, U.S. corporations hired a majority of women. Although U.S. employers had not deemed women productive enough for farm labor under the Bracero Program, they favored them for industrial work. Mexico’s strong cultural…

…1920s for harvest labor. Under the Bracero Program and the BIP, the PRI adapted the programs according to U.S. demands for cheap, gendered, and passive workforces. In both programs, the U.S. government, American corporations, and the PRI jointly favored…

…research explains how the Bracero Program and the BIP embody the capitalist principle of favoring profitability over laborers’ social wellbeing. The Bracero Program began in 1942 as an effort to compensate for an absent American male labor force during…

…World War II. The U.S. and Mexican governments agreed to legalize Mexican immigration to the U.S. for temporary work on American farms and railroads. While older scholarship looks upon the Bracero Program as a success for both Mexicans and Americans, in…

…recent years historians have viewed it as a failure for Mexicans in particular. When founded, the program included several protections for the bracero workers with regard to wages and working conditions. While 10 Justin Akers Chacn and Mike Davis, No…