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The Abolition of El Cortito, the Short-Handled Hoe: A Case Study in Social Conflict and State Policy in California Agriculture

Douglas L. Murray
Social Problems
Vol. 30, No. 1, Thematic Issue on Health and Illness (Oct., 1982), pp. 26-39
DOI: 10.2307/800182
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/800182
Page Count: 14
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The Abolition of El Cortito, the Short-Handled Hoe: A Case Study in Social Conflict and State Policy in California Agriculture
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Abstract

In 1975, an administrative ruling by a California state agency, banned the use of el cortito, the short-handled hoe, as an occupational hazard to California farm workers. This study analyzes the conflict over the short-handled hoe, focusing on the legal and administrative actions from 1968 to 1975 which led to abolition of the tool. By comparing the problem of el cortito as defined by state policy, with the historical development of this occupational hazard, I question the use of legal institutions and the state arena as a means for resolving issues of social conflict.

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