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Title:Working-class newspapers, community and consciousness in Chicago, 1880-1930
Author(s):Bekken, Jon Everett
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Guback, Thomas
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, United States
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Abstract:This dissertation focuses on Chicago working-class and labor newspapers published between 1880 and 1930, documenting an often- neglected part of communications history. The workers' press played a key role in sustaining and promoting U.S. working-class movements. Chicago's working-class press ranged from obscure monthly organs to well-established socialist dailies integrated into the socio-cultural milieu in which they operated. These papers were part of a rich media ecology, including scores of foreign-language, trade and professional dailies, as well as mainstream dailies organized into the Chicago Newspaper Trust.
Institutions such as the Socialistic Publishing Society, which issued the German-language Chicagoer Arbeiter-Zeitung, Fackel and Vorbote, illustrate the institutional arrangements workers employed to ensure that their newspaper remained accountable. Immigrant workers' newspapers sustained working-class cultures and encouraged solidarity across language barriers. Lithuanian, Italian and Croatian papers--especially Naujienos, La Parola del Popolo, and Radnicka Straza--illustrate these processes. Foreign-language papers reflected competing visions of class and ethnicity, illustrated in Chicago's Czech (Spravedlnost, Denni Hlasatel, and Svornost), Polish (Dziennik Ludowy, Dziennik Zjednoczenia, Dkiennik Zwiazkowy, and Dziennik Chicagoski) and Yiddish (Jewish Courier, Arbeiter Welt, and Jewish Daily Forward) press, and the ways in which socialist newspapers sought to fuse ethnic and class identities.
Through the Chicago Daily Socialist, the Cook County Socialist Party struggled to realize their vision of a newspaper written and controlled by the socialist movement. The Chicago Federation of Labor launched The New Majority in 1919 (renamed the Federation News in 1924) after decades of relying on privately-published organs such as the Union Labor Advocate, to support their expansive political agenda. These newspapers were produced by editors characteristic of, and deeply embedded in, the communities they served.
Chicago's working-class press represented an alternative model--one in which ordinary workers were encouraged to participate in shaping and producing their own media. Yet the extent to which this ideal was realized varied widely. Publishers often encountered serious difficulties reconciling the competing pressures of the capitalist marketplace in which they were obliged to operate and the needs of the movements they were established to serve.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Bekken, Jon Everett
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9215776
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9215776

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