Thomas A. Castillo, "Working in the Magic City: Moral Economy in Early Twentieth-Century Miami" (U Illinois Press, 2022)


In the early twentieth century, Miami cultivated an image of itself as a destination for leisure and sunshine free from labor strife. In Working in the Magic City: Moral Economy in Early Twentieth-Century Miami (U Illinois Press, 2022), Thomas A. Castillo unpacks this idea of class harmony and the language that articulated its presence by delving into the conflicts, repression, and progressive grassroots politics of the time. Castillo pays particular attention to how class and race relations reflected and reinforced the nature of power in Miami. Class harmony argued against the existence of labor conflict, but in reality obscured how workers struggled within the city's service-oriented seasonal economy. Castillo shows how and why such an ideal thrived in Miami's atmosphere of growth and boosterism and amidst the political economy of tourism. His analysis also presents class harmony as a theoretical framework that broadens our definitions of class conflict and class consciousness.

This episode was produced for "Working History," the podcast of the Southern Labor Studies Association.

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The mission of the Southern Labor Studies Association is to promote the study, teaching, and preservation of the history of southern labor.

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