LABORING IN STONE: THE URBANIZATION OF CAPITAL IN THE QUARRY TOWN OF TEXAS, MARYLAND, AND ITS EFFECTS, 1840 TO 1940
Brighton, Stephen A
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Capitalism is founded on the unequal relationship between capital and labor, a relationship that along with the expansion and accumulation of capital and labor power has come to influence everyday life and values. The quarry town of Texas, in Baltimore County, Maryland, offers an opportunity to explore this important relationship between labor and capital. Established in the mid-nineteenth century to quarry and burn limestone at a time of expanding industry and an expanding nation. The town was created to house the workers, primarily Irish immigrants and later African Americans hired to toil in this hazardous industry, and a community was formed and eventually destroyed. This study examines the logic and process of capitalism, drawing on David Harvey's theoretization of the urbanization of capital to understand how life at Texas was influenced by capitalism. The role of and changes to the quarry industry's operations are studied along with their impact on life in Texas and how industry aligned social relations in town to facilitate capitalism through the manipulation of material culture and space. Through an analysis of the built landscape and artifacts of everyday life, such as ceramic tableware and smoking pipes, in their social context, daily interactions can be studied within a wider framework and scale. Studying Texas in this manner demonstrates the utility and necessity of using a totalizing approach, as suggested by Harvey, to examine capitalism in historical archaeology.