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Combating Mountaintop RemovalNew Directions in the Fight against Big Coal$
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Bryan T. McNeil

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036439

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036439.001.0001

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Gender, Solidarity, and Symbolic Capital

Gender, Solidarity, and Symbolic Capital

(p.123) 7. Gender, Solidarity, and Symbolic Capital
Combating Mountaintop Removal

Bryan T. McNeil

University of Illinois Press

This chapter considers the significance of prominent women's leadership in the movement to stop mountaintop removal. The prominence of women in leadership positions is a signature characteristic of Appalachian community activism, including the CRMW and the Friends of the Mountains (FOM) networks. However, the role of women is related to the decline of the union and the shifting sites of organizing within the community. Though women have always been active in social issues in the coalfields, the union's historically dominant role in organizing activism limited women's ability to rise to leadership positions. Organizing outside of the union affords women greater flexibility to link together social issues that a labor perspective may not have addressed directly. As such, women are able to forge a more comprehensive approach to social justice built upon different symbolic capital foundations.

Keywords:   mountaintop removal, women's leadership, union decline, social issues, coalfields, CRMW, Friends of the Mountains, social justice

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