Company towns are often portrayed as powerless communities, fundamentally dependent on the outside influence of global capital. Neil White challenges this interpretation by exploring how these communities were altered at the local level through human agency, missteps, and chance. Far from being homogeneous, these company towns are shown to be unique communities with equally unique histories. Company Towns provides a multi-layered, international comparison between the development of two settlements-the mining community of Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia, and the mill town of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada. White pinpoints crucial differences between the towns' experiences by contrasting each region's histories from various perspectives-business, urban, labour, civic, and socio-cultural. Company Towns also makes use of a sizable collection of previously neglected oral history sources and town records, providing an illuminating portrait of divergence that defies efforts to impose structure on the company town phenomenon.
Publisher: University of Toronto Press