Mangos, Chiles, and Truckers illuminates how local groups and individuals engage the global world and capitalism in creative ways. Robert Alvarez analyzes how the produce and trucking industries in Mexico affect the organization of work, community, and social space for miles on either side of the international border. Taking an ethnographic approach, Alvarez focuses on the impact transnational economic policies like NAFTA have had on growers of mangos and chiles in Mexico, those who transport the produce across the U.S.–Mexico border, and the immigrant communities receiving these goods in the United States.
Contrary to common perceptions in postnational studies, Alvarez shows how the nation-state enacts and connects with the transnational, crossing borders in ways that underwrite new technology and trade. Emphasizing the importance and control of the nation-state in the global process, Mangos, Chiles, and Truckers demonstrates how people make meaning as they struggle with the economic circumstances of their lives, creating cultural traditions and giving new value to old customs and practices.
Robert R. Alvarez Jr. is professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego.
George Lipsitz is professor of American studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.