Dialectical Anthropology

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 147–169 | Cite as

Renegotiating gender and class in the berry fields of Michoacán, Mexico

  • Donna L. Chollett


This article examines the renegotiation of gender and class in a rural Mexican community where economic crisis in the sugar industry led foreign agribusinesses to promote blackberry and raspberry production for export and hire primarily women as berry pickers. Analysis focuses on the transition from a sugar economy where mostly men worked in the cane fields to non-traditional agricultural exports when women entered agricultural waged labor in unprecedented numbers. This restructuring of the regional economy raises important questions regarding the marginalization of differentiated subaltern groups and the nature of new sets of power relations between transnational agribusinesses, berry growers, and waged workers. I analyze the contradictions of this changing social field that connects Northern consumers, transnational company executives, berry growers, and waged laborers in a web of differential power relations as they reverberate along the commodity chain from campesino households to the global market.


Gender Class Globalization Transnational agribusiness Non-traditional agricultural production 



This research was supported by a University of Minnesota Faculty Summer Research Scholarship. I also presented these materials at the invited session, “Destabilizing Rifts in Agricultural Transformation: Women’s Struggles for Equity, Autonomy, and Empowerment” of the 2006 American Anthropological Association annual meeting and the VII Congreso de la Asociación Latinoamericana de Sociología Rural in Quito, Ecuador. I thank panel members and discussants for their constructive feedback. I am especially appreciative for the time and effort contributed by the Dialectical Anthropology journal’s editorial board and all anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Social SciencesUniversity of Minnesota-MorrisMorrisUSA

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