Family and Class in Postindustrial Chicago
In 1980, Christine J. Walley’s world was turned upside down when the steel mill in Southeast Chicago where her father worked abruptly closed. In the ensuing years, ninety thousand other area residents would also lose their jobs in the mills—just one example of the vast scale of deindustrialization occurring across the United States. The disruption of this event propelled Walley into a career as a cultural anthropologist, and now, in Exit Zero, she brings her anthropological perspective home, examining the fate of her family and that of blue-collar America at large.
This book is part of a project that also includes a documentary film and interactive website. For more information, and the chance to share your own stories, photos, and artefacts regarding the history of Southeast Chicago, please visit: http://www.exitzeroproject.org/
“Exit Zero is a gem that will appeal to a variety of audiences. Christine Walley’s analysis of how community residents in Southeast Chicago—and particularly members of her family—experienced deindustrialization is sensitive and illuminating, and her discussion of what it was like for her to leave Southeast Chicago to enter the upper-middle class world reinforces her message that the working class world is poorly understood both in popular culture and in mainstream academic literature. In the last full chapter, on the environmental dimension of social class, she breaks new ground. Exit Zero is an intense account of a little-considered part of the American experience.”
Working Class Studies Association: CLR James Award
Society for Humanistic Anthropology: Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing