In the song Factory, released as part of the 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town album, Bruce Springsteen reflected the centrality of industrial work to many neighbourhoods, towns and cities across the United States at the time. One of Springsteen’s bleakest albums, Darkness was released against the backdrop of the loss of around 22.3m US jobs between 1969 and 1976, with the closure of some 100,000 manufacturing plants between 1963 and 1982. The Freehold, NJ, native drew heavily on the experiences of his family and hometown, which had experienced the closure of the A. & M. Karagheusian Company’s rug factory. Factory reflected the ambiguous nature of industrial work; it underpins both economic and social survival whilethreatening life and limb. Springsteen’s factory is also a highly gendered space; a masculine world of industrial labour. Springsteen’s factory presents the industrial worker, like those in Sherry Lee Linkon and John Russo’s memorable study of Youngstown, Steeltown USA, as both ‘powerful and powerless’. Above all, the workplace culture of the factory is situated at the heart of community and family.
|Title of host publication||A Cultural History of Work in the Modern Age|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|