Spatially strong: Dead Sea Works Ltd. and the building up of the southeast of Israel, 1948–1964

Shani Bar-On Maman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This is the story of the formative years of one of Israel’s big corporations–the Dead Sea Works Ltd. (DSW). It concerns the interrelations between space and labor, told through an account of four transitions: (1) The transfer of the company from England to Israel with its establishment in 1952; (2) The move of its central office from Jerusalem to Be’er Sheva; (3) The dismantling of the original workers’ camp near the factory (in Sodom) and the move of the workers’ dwellings to three different towns; and (4) The transfer of representation from Tel Aviv to Be’er Sheva. The case of the DSW, I argue, is a ‘geohistory’ of labor that exemplifies the construction of the northeastern Negev’s social space, especially the making of scale. This ‘scale-making’ was an ongoing process of scaling up (from the local to the regional) and scaling down (from the global to the state level, and from the center to the periphery). Through this process of scale-making, the workers of the DSW gained a great deal of power and became spatially strong.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-453
Number of pages17
JournalLabor History
Issue number4
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2018


  • Dead Sea Works Ltd
  • Israel
  • geohistory
  • labor geography
  • labor process
  • scale
  • social space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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