Billings: The Miners and the Textile workers

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  • Billings: Case study: Coal Miners and textile workers in the 1920s and 1930s in Kentucky (America)
    • Both were working class, evangelical, protestants.
    • Miners
      • More militant in fighting for recognition.
      • Benefited from the leadership of "organic intellectuals."
      • Could meet at independent churches to hold meetings.
      • Churches kept their morale high by supportive sermons, prayer meetings and group signings.
    • Textile workers
      • Accepted the status quo without complaints.
      • Lacked leadership of "organic intellectuals," and were easily influenced by the views of the clergy who identified with the employers and denounced unions as "ungodly."
      • Lacked spaces and remained in company churches that were under the control of the textile mill owners.
      • Met with opposition of local church members who branded them as communists.
    • Religion either supported or challenged hegemony by:
      • Leadership
      • Organisation
      • Support
    • Religion can play a "prominent oppositional role."
    • His study shows that the same religion can be called upon either to defend the status quo or to justify the struggle to change it.


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