Bethlehem Steelworker Families: Reshaping the Industrial Working Class


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships


Sociology, Economics, and Anthropology


This research, based on a decade of ethnography in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, examines life narratives of steelworkers who entered the mill under industrial-era tenets and understandings of work and society. This view included strong unions, secure jobs, fulfilling solidarities, career options, and a faith in the value of productive labor for US society. These same workers lived through the long-term stresses of deindustrialization over a 35-year period, including downsizings, union concessions, departmental shutdowns, transfer to other mills, and the eventual bankruptcy of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. The project examines how workers construct worldviews and a moral order rooted in these experiences, with the goal of turning dissertation research into a book.