From Wage Slaves to Wage Workers: Cultural Opportunity Structures and the Evolution of the Wage Demands of Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor, 1880-1900

@article{Hallgrmsdttir2007FromWS,
  title={From Wage Slaves to Wage Workers: Cultural Opportunity Structures and the Evolution of the Wage Demands of Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor, 1880-1900},
  author={Helga Krist{\'i}n Hallgr{\'i}msd{\'o}ttir and Cecilia Benoit},
  journal={Social Forces},
  year={2007},
  volume={85},
  pages={1393 - 1411}
}
This paper examines the reasons behind a historic shift in the language couching the wage demands of two North American labor movements during the last twenty years of the 19th century – the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor. We trace how the once dominant imagery of "wage slavery" lost its connection to producerist labor ideology and eventually was replaced by the more pragmatic symbolism of "wage work." This linguistic shift is of particular scholarly importance because it… 

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