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The Struggle for Maize: Campesinos, Workers, and Transgenic Corn in the Mexican Countryside

Elizabeth Fitting

10 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0822349566 / ISBN 13: 9780822349563
Published by Duke University Press Books, 2010
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Struggle for Maize: Campesinos, Workers,...

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

Publication Date: 2010

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:New

About this title

Synopsis:

When scientists discovered transgenes in local Mexican corn varieties in 2001, their findings intensified a debate about not only the import of genetically modified (GM) maize into Mexico but also the fate of the peasantry under neoliberal globalization. While the controversy initially focused on the extent to which gene flow from transgenic to local varieties threatens maize biodiversity, anti-GM activists emphasized the cultural significance of the crop in Mexico and demanded that campesinos and consumers have a voice in the creation of GM maize and rural policies. In The Struggle for Maize, Elizabeth Fitting explores the competing claims of the GM corn debate in relation to the livelihood struggles of small-scale maize producers, migrants, and maquiladora workers from the southern Tehuacán Valley. She argues that the region’s biodiversity is affected by state policies that seek to transform campesinos into entrepreneurs and rural residents into transnational migrant laborers. While corn production and a campesino identity remain important to an older generation, younger residents have little knowledge of or interest in maize agriculture; they seek out wage labor in maquiladoras and the United States. Fitting’s ethnography illustrates how agricultural producers and their families respond creatively to economic hardship and Mexico’s “neoliberal corn regime,” which promotes market liberalization, agricultural “efficiency,” and the reduction of state services over domestic maize production and food sovereignty.

Review:

""The Struggle for Maize" is an important book about a crucial topic, the debate over the dissemination of genetically modified (GM) corn in Mexico, the crop's biological center of origin. The debate is significant because the more the modern varieties of corn become disseminated, the more biological diversity is lost, as that diversity depends on the traditional corn varieties cultivated by peasants. Elizabeth Fitting gives us an excellent account of the various positions in the GM corn debate and the connections between international processes and local Mexican communities."--Gerardo Otero, editor of "Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America"

"[T]his is a very good piece of work, with quite interesting analyses both of the contemporary corn debates and the current form of the Mexico's approaches to rural communities of the lives of rural small farmers in Mexico into the twenty first century. It is a strong contribution to a body of research that, as a whole, provides a very compelling case study of the impact of policy and the strategies of the people that are affected by it." - Kathleen Musante DeWalt, "A Contracorriente"

"Fitting's book emerges at a time of intense debate in the global north about how to 'feed the world, ' but this debate is really about 'feeding the global south, ' amid concerns over population growth, climate change, and resource scarcity. . . . Fitting has intervened with an incisive critique of conventional agricultural development in Mexico, specifically showing how the discourse of scientific expertise is used to discredit other kinds of knowledge and equally valid concerns about the cultural effects of transgenic crops. "The Struggle for Maize"--a snapshot of the state of the agriculture/development debate in Mexico and a brilliant gathering together of literature on the topic--stands as both a corrective and a rebuke to such dismissals and exclusions." - Alice Brooke Wilson, "Human Ecology"
"Fitting has written an insightful book that urges us to ponder the future of farming in and beyond Mexico. Its fresh take on getting to the background history of the food on our plates will be of use to those interested in food safety, food policy and food security, as well as to scholars of labour, peasant studies and the history of Mexico."
- Gabriela Soto Laveaga, "Journal of Latin American Studies"

""The Struggle for Maize" deals with the resilience of corn as a crop and commodity "and" as a cultural practice, despite the challenges presented by a globalized economy that has introduced GMO corn varieties into Mexico. Depending on one's point of view, GMO may have accrued some economic benefits here and there in the country (but certainly not in San Jose Miahuatlan), but the agricultural, social, and environmental harms it has presented, Fitting argues, outweigh those benefits. And her book is successful in showing that, and thus is an important contribution to that ongoing debate."--Sterling Evans "H-Environment, "H-Net Reviews" "

"Working across scale and over time, "The Struggle for Maize" provides a multidimensional perspective on the GM corn debates, which Fitting effectively demonstrates are about much more than crop varieties. . . . "The Struggle for Maize" succeeds at coalescing a wide array of perspectives and data around the central issue of the role of corn agriculture in Mexico. With Fitting's engaging and accessible writing style, the pages turn easily even as they deliver dense and stimulating content."--Eric Casler "" Rural Sociology" "

"The Struggle for Maize" is an important book about a crucial topic, the debate over the dissemination of genetically modified (GM) corn in Mexico, the crop s biological center of origin. The debate is significant because the more the modern varieties of corn become disseminated, the more biological diversity is lost, as that diversity depends on the traditional corn varieties cultivated by peasants. Elizabeth Fitting gives us an excellent account of the various positions in the GM corn debate and the connections between international processes and local Mexican communities. Gerardo Otero, editor of "Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America""

"The Struggle for Maize" deals with the resilience of corn as a crop and commodity "and" as a cultural practice, despite the challenges presented by aglobalized economy that has introduced GMO corn varieties into Mexico. Depending on one's point of view, GMO may have accrued some economic benefits here and there in the country (but certainly not in San Jose Miahuatlan), but the agricultural, social, and environmental harms it has presented, Fitting argues, outweigh those benefits. And her book is successful in showing that, and thus is an important contribution to that ongoing debate. --Sterling Evans "H-Environment, "H-Net Reviews" ""

Working across scale and over time, "The Struggle for Maize" provides a multidimensional perspective on the GM corn debates, which Fitting effectively demonstrates are about much more than crop varieties. . . . "The Struggle for Maize" succeeds at coalescing a wide array of perspectives and data around the central issue of the role of corn agriculture inMexico. With Fitting s engaging and accessible writing style, the pagesturn easily even as they deliver dense and stimulating content. --Eric Casler "" Rural Sociology" ""

The Struggle for Maize is an important book about a crucial topic, the debate over the dissemination of genetically modified (GM) corn in Mexico, the crop s biological center of origin. The debate is significant because the more the modern varieties of corn become disseminated, the more biological diversity is lost, as that diversity depends on the traditional corn varieties cultivated by peasants. Elizabeth Fitting gives us an excellent account of the various positions in the GM corn debate and the connections between international processes and local Mexican communities. Gerardo Otero, editor of Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America"

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