Textiles, Technology and the Return to Manufacturing in the United States

Faculty Lead: Caitrin Lynch Deb Chachra

Research Objectives

Professor Lynch is studying the daily impact of globalization and deindustrialization in the United States, as seen on the shop floor and in the boardroom of one of the country’s oldest textile mills. The study aims to offer insights into what is at stake when the nature of available jobs changes with technological change. In a community of people where the parents and grandparents, even without a high school degree, had been able to find life-long jobs that could contribute to family expenses, what are the current possibilities? What lessons can we draw from this mill’s everyday struggles over technological change in the context of globalization? What are the larger lessons about technology, skill, work, and ethical business practices in the twenty-first century?


This study aims to further understand the impact of technology on the availability and meanings of work during a time in U.S. society when many people are critically engaging questions about unemployment in an economy with progressively fewer manufacturing jobs.