Traders in Uncertainty: An Ethnography of Law(lessness) and (Dis)order in Mexico’s Central Food Market


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation is an ethnographic study of the effects of Mexico’s current insecurity crisis on the country’s largest wholesale food market and its provisioning networks. Based on 15 months of fieldwork among wholesale merchants, market administrators, police, truck drivers, and workers, it addresses the questions: How does insecurity figure into decisions, practices, and discourses of actors in the food system? How are order and trust established in conditions of impunity and uncertainty? What role does the law play in defining what it means to be a moral economic actor under these conditions? This project opens windows onto broader discussions on the meaning and practice of the law in conditions of insecurity, and on the cultural and moral dimensions of globalized food systems.