This paper is about ongoing findings for the analysis and comparison of practices of three case studies of managersfrom the British world in the disciplining of labour in sheep farming at Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, in the southernmost Chile. Firstly, using information from census databases, and information on places of origins and occupations, it will be exposed some of their biographical backgrounds and experiences from Britain or the British Empire. Later, through the review of business records, press information, travel writings and other unpublished sources like personal correspondence, it will be presented some of their management of workforce performances at estancias (stations or ranches) and frigoríficos (freezing works) in the Patagonian region.
This research seeks to contribute in two discussions. On the one hand, it merits asking to what extent a so-called "British model" has been established in this regional sheep farming, considering components of everyday practices of labour management by men from different realities from Britain and the British Empire. Until now, it has been argued that the installation of sheep capitalism in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego involved the penetration of British repertoires of action around sheep exploitation. However, to compare particular cases provides an opportunity to analyse the nuances of British capitalist practices, including the management of labour. By addressing influences of British-world managers, considering local agencies and backgrounds, it is expected to promote understanding of labour relationships in Patagonian pastoralism through evaluating particularities. On the other hand, it is possible to ask how concepts which, on the contrary, have understood the development of regionalsheep activity as an exceptional structure, may continue to be appropriate if the necessary British imperial contextual background is added in the shaping of particular administrative practices. This also allows an extension of the discussion about British imperialism sovereignties, tensioning its "informal" notion by adding the component of direct power exerted in quotidian labour relationships in South American borderland workspaces.
Keywords: British world – Patagonia – Sheep farming industry – Labour discipline – Managers
Nicolás Gómez Baeza is a Chilean historian PhD student, fully funded by ANID (“Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo”) Chile, to develop Doctoral studies. His origins from Patagonia are strongly linked with my research interests. His dissertation topic is about transnational trajectories of managers from the British world, and their practices in the discipline of labour in estancias (stations or ranches) and frigoríficos (freezing works or refrigeration sites) of sheep farming industry in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. He is currently working on collections from England, Scotland and New Zealand, exploring for information on case studies’ occupational backgrounds of British-world managers at their places of origin.
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