American Culture Studies Ph.D. Dissertations


Shattered Glass and Broken Dreams: Utilizing the Works of Michel De Certeau to Analyze Coping Mechanisms and Overt Forms of Resistance Among Glass Workers in Huntington, West Virginia

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


American Culture Studies/Popular Culture

First Advisor

Donald McQuarie


This dissertation examines the process of deindustrialization in an urban Appalachian community from a cultural perspective. Many initial studies concerning the effects of deindustrialization on Appalachian communities concluded that these communities were ultimately devastated. Appalachian culture was too brittle, culturally backwards, and therefore unable to withstand the shock of such an economic disaster. These studies failed to consider what subtle forms of coping mechanisms existed in the workplace before deindustrialization, and what overt forms of resistance were utilized by economically dispossessed workers after the deindustrialization process. In the 1980s, the Owens-Illinois Glass manufacturing plant in Huntington, West Virginia was significantly downsized, and in the early 1990s the glass manufacturing plant was permanently closed due to the deindustrialization process. This dissertation challenges the notion that Owens-Illinois workers in Huntington, West Virginia were "culturally backward," and therefore ultimately defeated by the deindustrialization process. Utilizing the works of Michel de Certeau, and analyzing a series of oral histories of deindustrialized Owens-Illinois glass workers in Huntington, West Virginia, this paper proposes that former glass workers in Huntington, West Virginia creatively coped with their often tedious work environments during full employment, and later developed overt forms of resistance to the deindustrialization process.