Mining Men: Chile Exploration Company and the Politics of Copper, Culture, and Gender, 1921–1971

  • Janet Finn


From the 1920s to the nationalization of the Chilean copper mines in 1971, Chile Exploration Company (Chilex) a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Anaconda Copper Mining Company, was a major player in Chilean history, economy, and politics. Its Chuquicamata mine, located in Chile’s north desert, was the world’s largest open pit mine (Marcosson 1957:194–199). By mid-century the mine was the source of nearly three-quarters of Anaconda Company profits.1 Industry accounts of its exploitation are steeped in the celebratory discourses of progress, modernity, and the bold advance of capitalism. This chapter offers an historical and ethnographic examination of masculinity and the making of class and gendered subjects in the shadow of the Chile Exploration Company. It explores cultural constructions of the miner as the quintessential working man and examines ways in which images of mining and masculinity were variably appropriated, deployed, and contested by North American bosses, Chilean labor leaders, miners themselves, and women of the mining community Particular attention is paid to ways in which representations of masculinity coalesce and collide within a larger politics of identification involving race, class, citizenship, and nationality in the context of this powerful Yankee presence.


Union Leader Sport League Copper Industry Indian Affair Gender Order 
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Copyright information

© Dorothy Hodgson 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet Finn

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