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The Terror of the Machine

The Terror of the Machine
Technology, Work, Gender, and Ecology on the U.S.-Mexico Border

This interdisciplinary work explores the complex intersections of technology, class, gender, and ecology in the transnational milieu of Mexico's maquiladoras.

Series: CMAS Border & Migration Studies Series

Center for Mexican American Studies, University of Texas at Austin
January 1995
This is a print-on-demand title. Expedited shipping is not available.
$44.95
477 pages | 6 x 9 1/4 |
ISBN: 
978-0-292-76562-7
Description: 

 

Born of thirteen years of field research, this interdisciplinary work explores the complex intersections of technology, class, gender, and ecology in the transnational milieu of Mexico's maquiladoras, foreign-owned assembly plants located along the U.S. border.

 

 

Devon Peña examines workplace and community struggles from the perspective of the women who work in the maquiladoras. He describes the workers' struggles for workplace democracy, social justice, and sustainable development. He also observes the circulation of struggle from the factory to the community, highlighting the efforts to establish worker-owned cooperatives in the border region during the 1970s and 1980s.

 

 

Female maquila workers are typically portrayed as passive, apolitical, and easily exploited. This book, however, presents an opposing view, investigating the "subaltern life of the shop floor"—the workers' informal methods of resistance to hazardous conditions, sexual harassment, and managerial tyranny. Using survey research, oral history, discourse analysis, and site ethnography, the author develops a cogent critique of labor-process theory, a critique grounded on his extensive study of actual workplace politics in the maquiladoras.

 

 

The Terror of the Machine is a trenchant analysis of the political, cultural, and environmental effects of maquila industrialization and an eloquent and persuasive call for alternatives in the direction of ecologically sustainable and culturally appropriate modes of development.

 

Awards: 

Outstanding Academic Books list, 1998
CHOICE (Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

Contents: 
  • List of Figures and Tables
  • Acknowledgments
  • Part One. The Terror of the Machine
    • 1. “No Terrors, to a Certain Kind of Mind”
    • 2. From Dark, Satanic Mills to Maquilas
    • 3. (Mis)Measuring the Ignorant
  • Part Two. Terrains of Struggle
    • 4. Like Turtles on the Line
    • 5. The Mirror of Exploitation
  • Part Three. Mothers of Invention
    • 6. Mexican Thinkwork
    • 7. Marginality as Inventive Force
  • Part Four. Back to the Future
    • 8. Mexico in the Fast Lane?
    • 9. Promised Land or Wasteland?
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
Reviews: 

“Peña's book, the result of more than ten years of field research, delineates the political, cultural, and environmental effects of Mexico's borderside maquiladoras.... Through his critique of these foreign-owned assembly plants, Peña argues persuasively for the implementation of new methods of economic growth that may be both ecologically sustainable and culturally appropriate, and therefore beneficial to communities on both sides of the border.”
Hispanic