Cow Talk: Ecology, Culture, and Power in the Intermountain West Range Cattle Industry, 1945-1965

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/194442
Title:
Cow Talk: Ecology, Culture, and Power in the Intermountain West Range Cattle Industry, 1945-1965
Author:
Berry, Michelle Kathleen
Issue Date:
2005
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation offers a cultural history of a special interest group - namely, the range cattle ranchers in the intermountain West states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico from 1945-1965. In these years, ranchers joined together in their special interest group organizations in unprecedented numbers and proceeded to create and present a dominant culture which helped them to appear more unified than perhaps they really were. This, then, is a cultural history of a political group as opposed to a study of the politics of a cultural group. Rather than taking for granted the status of their political, economic, and environmental power in the postwar decades, ranchers came to fear for their place in the West. This fear motivated them to gather together in their collective organizations and enabled them to present to the non-ranching public an image of a cultural group well-congealed. This dissertation utilizes ranchers' personal papers, ranchers' publications, and cattlegrower association records to examine the varied components of ranch culture that dominated ranchers' collective conversations (including their cultural valuation of masculine labor with cows, the importance of ranch women in promoting the culture, and the magnitude of technological modernization of the ranching industry) and suggests that in spite of profound tensions within ranch society, a dominant culture facilitated ranchers' unity and helped them to assert claims to political power. The shared symbolic universe of ranchers' everyday lives manifested itself in a cultural system of language and images (cow talk) that had prevailing patterns across the region. These patterns allowed ranchers to unify around a dominant culture. And although ranchers certainly did not agree on everything, their divergences were of degree so that while ranchers sometimes disagreed about specific policies or which insecticide really worked best on bed bugs, they did not disagree on cultural principles. They then used those principles to justify their claims to political, economic, and environmental power.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
environment; United States West; agriculture; culture
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
History; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Morrissey, Katherine G
Committee Chair:
Morrissey, Katherine G

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleCow Talk: Ecology, Culture, and Power in the Intermountain West Range Cattle Industry, 1945-1965en_US
dc.creatorBerry, Michelle Kathleenen_US
dc.contributor.authorBerry, Michelle Kathleenen_US
dc.date.issued2005en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation offers a cultural history of a special interest group - namely, the range cattle ranchers in the intermountain West states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico from 1945-1965. In these years, ranchers joined together in their special interest group organizations in unprecedented numbers and proceeded to create and present a dominant culture which helped them to appear more unified than perhaps they really were. This, then, is a cultural history of a political group as opposed to a study of the politics of a cultural group. Rather than taking for granted the status of their political, economic, and environmental power in the postwar decades, ranchers came to fear for their place in the West. This fear motivated them to gather together in their collective organizations and enabled them to present to the non-ranching public an image of a cultural group well-congealed. This dissertation utilizes ranchers' personal papers, ranchers' publications, and cattlegrower association records to examine the varied components of ranch culture that dominated ranchers' collective conversations (including their cultural valuation of masculine labor with cows, the importance of ranch women in promoting the culture, and the magnitude of technological modernization of the ranching industry) and suggests that in spite of profound tensions within ranch society, a dominant culture facilitated ranchers' unity and helped them to assert claims to political power. The shared symbolic universe of ranchers' everyday lives manifested itself in a cultural system of language and images (cow talk) that had prevailing patterns across the region. These patterns allowed ranchers to unify around a dominant culture. And although ranchers certainly did not agree on everything, their divergences were of degree so that while ranchers sometimes disagreed about specific policies or which insecticide really worked best on bed bugs, they did not disagree on cultural principles. They then used those principles to justify their claims to political, economic, and environmental power.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectenvironmenten_US
dc.subjectUnited States Westen_US
dc.subjectagricultureen_US
dc.subjectcultureen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineHistoryen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorMorrissey, Katherine Gen_US
dc.contributor.chairMorrissey, Katherine Gen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAnderson, Karenen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberDeutsch, Sarahen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberOtero, Lydiaen_US
dc.identifier.proquest1404en_US
dc.identifier.oclc137355485en_US
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