Graduation Date

Spring 2017

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Program

Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

Matthew Derrick

Committee Chair Email

Matthew.Derrick@humboldt.edu

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Erin Kelly

Second Committee Member Email

Erin.Kelly@humboldt.edu

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Laurie Richmond

Third Committee Member Email

Laurie.Richmond@humboldt.edu

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environment and Community

Abstract

The rapid decline of timber operations in the late twentieth century had an immense impact on rural communities whose economy was dependent on logging and lumber mills. The voices and concerns of timber-dependent communities and timber workers have been marginalized by broader forces that focused on political, economic, and environmental issues throughout the Pacific Northwest timber conflict and the subsequent deindustrialization of the timber industry. This study examines the social impacts on loggers, their families, and the broader community in Hayfork, California, through the framework of identity theory. The formation of logger identity and the broader processes that have impacted identity over the last 30 years is analyzed using mixed qualitative methods of oral histories, semi-structured interviews, and archival research.

The research indicates that logger identity continues to be a strong, primary part of the participants’ sense of self. Logging is more than an economic livelihood— it is a way of life that includes traditions, values, and beliefs. Although the occupational community is a defining factor for the construction of logger identity, place is a central factor in the resilience and adaptation strategies of loggers. Loggers are a part of families who have long histories and complex social connections in Hayfork. Notably the wives of loggers are fundamental in reinforcing logger identity and shaping loggers’ social world, and they play an important role in the adaptation strategies of a community in crisis. The changes in the lives of the loggers and the community in this case study are linked to the processes of broader political, economic, and social change. The study of logger identity and the human impacts of the decline of the timber industry can provide insight for other natural resource and manufacturing industries, to the extent that similar processes of change are occurring. This research could also offer a broader understanding of consequences of natural resource planning and environmental policy on the workers, their families, and the communities who directly feel the impact of planning and policy decisions.

Citation Style

APA

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