Prosperity in the Fields: Migrant Farmworkers and the Role of Social Capital
Valentine, Colleen M.
Garcia, D. Linda
"Where does our food come from" is a popular question: the answer, the migrant farm worker. The migrant farmworkers who enable us to eat fresh produce during all seasons are typically mistreated, exposed to chemicals, and live in squalid conditions. Although these workers are integral to our food production system, they are marginalized and unable to get ahead. This vicious cycle of poverty for farmworkers leads me to ask: Are there ways that migrant workers can prosper, given their current conditions? What role can social capital play, if any, in helping them to collectively address their problems? It is this question that this thesis seeks to address. To do so, it uses case study and content analysis methodology of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a grassroots advocacy organization based in Immokalee, Florida, the tomato capital of the United States of America. I conclude that bridging social capital, developed over the Internet, has facilitated collective action for the CIW, which has led to improved economic conditions for the farmworker.
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