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Gender dynamics and social relations of production in Humboldt’s marijuana industry

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Title: Gender dynamics and social relations of production in Humboldt’s marijuana industry
Author: Adelman, Alisha
Abstract: This thesis examines gender dynamics and labor division in California’s Humboldt County marijuana cultivation industry. The research and findings primarily focus on women's roles from an economic and domestic perspective and the dynamics of families working in this controversial sector. Because the marijuana industry is illegal federally, and only conditionally legal in California, a criminal stigma may be imposed upon industry participants. White heterosexual males may be less exposed to this stigma, have greater resources to deal with it than “others,” and may not be as vulnerable to it as women and mothers for a variety of reasons. An additional challenge for women in this industry is coping with patriarchal attitudes that may survive, and even thrive, in such countercultural communities where the main source of income is through criminal enterprise. Intersectional feminism and theories of stigma management provide the analytical framework for this paper. This thesis fills a critical research gap regarding women's identities in the cultivation industry and how it relates to mainstream perspectives of women’s economic autonomy. To complete my research, I surveyed women and men working in various capacities in the marijuana cultivation industry, conducted in-depth personal interviews, and engaged in participant-observation. The research findings provide first-hand insight into an underground, though progressively emerging, culture. The findings suggest that while gender dynamics in the marijuana industry are similar to those of other agricultural industries, the gender division of labor in certain subsets is distinct. These distinctions specifically relate to “trim-work,” male dominance in many arenas of the industry, and the increasing ability for women to manage their own cultivation operations.
Description: Thesis (M.A.)--Humboldt State University, Social Science: Environment and Community, 2013
Date: 2013-05

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  • Masters Theses [874]
    A collection of selected Masters Theses in electronic format.

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