Community and the Northwestern Logger: Continuities and Changes in the Era of the Spotted Owl

Community and the Northwestern Logger: Continuities and Changes in the Era of the Spotted Owl

Community and the Northwestern Logger: Continuities and Changes in the Era of the Spotted Owl

Community and the Northwestern Logger: Continuities and Changes in the Era of the Spotted Owl


"In this book, Matthew Carroll examines the economic and social circumstances of northwestern U. S. loggers in the face of shifts in environmental politics, dramatic reductions in timber harvest levels on federal lands, and changing technology and market forces - among other factors that are rapidly transforming their industry, their livelihoods, and their communities. Drawing upon sociological fieldwork in logging communities that he conducted at various times over a period of nearly a decade and using the spotted owl-old growth controversy as a case study, Carroll provides a rich and detailed picture of life among northwestern loggers. He lays out the human dimensions and dilemmas of the timber crisis. Expanding it from the oversimplified owl-versus-logger confrontation, he puts these issues in a historical and policy context and suggests parallels to other controversies such as public grazing and federal or state river protection. Carroll's work revives the concept of occupational community and shows ways it can be used to understand the dynamics of rural occupations linked to resource extraction." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Virtually everyone in the United States has heard of the spotted owl. Its image has appeared frequently on the covers of national magazines, and its habits have been the object of multiple expensive scientific investigations. Simultaneously, this tiny creature is seen as mysterious, pretty, delicate, dignified, and threatened with extinction.

Less visible to and less understood by Americans are the lives of those who have frequently been portrayed as the spotted owl's enemy-- the northwestern loggers.

This book is not about right and wrong, nor which values should prevail in this divisive controversy; neither is it about how the forest industry works. Rather, it is about the social world of loggers and how that world has been affected by the dispute. the book also provides important background for the development of policies essential for finding reasonable and humane accommodations in forestry and natural resource conflicts, of which the spotted owl dilemma happens to be the one with greatest visibility.

The reader is introduced to the lives of working loggers from their perspectives as gyppos, fallers, choker setters, landing chasers, yarders, cat skinners, and other jobs associated with transforming trees into lumber. the author's experiences of working on a logging crew produce engaging descriptions of logging work: for example, how a "talkie tooter" enables a rigging slinger to control the operation of a yarder. Intriguing as these descriptions of the logger's world are, they are only prologue to the author's purpose.

Community, as a sociological concept, has been used to describe influences on people's lives that go beyond family, clubs, organizational connections, friendship groups, and work. It influences how people think of themselves and define life possibilities. Traditionally, community has been defined by a named geographic place. Development of the mass society in this century meant that geographic community became less important in most people's lives and produced . . .

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