Human Ecology

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 331–333 | Cite as

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

Durham: Duke University Press, 2011, (ISBN: 978-0-8223-4956-3) Price $23.95 (paperback) xvii +302 pages, index
  • Alice Brooke Wilson

Maize occupies a central place in Mesoamerican culture and history. Even with the rise of US-style (and often US-owned) supermarkets selling processed convenience food, on average modern-day rural Mexicans still consume nearly a kilogram of tortillas daily. And smallholder agriculture, stubbornly persistent in southern Mexico after a century of recurring agrarian crises, remains centered on the maize patch.

Corn also connects Mexico to its neighbor to the north, which emerged in the twentieth century as the globe’s dominant maize producer. Using highly mechanized agriculture, massive amounts of fossil fuel-based chemicals, and high-tech seeds, the U.S. produces far more corn than any other country, including Mexico, where the crop was domesticated 9,000 years ago. Meanwhile, Mexican corn agriculture over the past two decades has entered a phase of rapid change. NAFTA (1994) opened a floodgate of industrially produced US corn into the Mexican market, driving down prices and pushing over...


  1. de Ita, A. 2011. “Reservaciones de maíz: los centros de origen y diversidad,” La Jornada, December 4, 2011.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AnthropologyUNC-Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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