Accepted paper:

Neoliberal Technoscapes and Culinary Changes in Merida, Yucatan

Author:

Steffan Igor Ayora Diaz (Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses changes in the contemporary kitchen in urban Yucatán. Focusing on the capital city I examine everyday transformations that may or not be perceived as tied to neoliberal transformations and discuss the emergence of new discursive formations within a neoliberal economic regime.

Paper long abstract:

This paper addresses changes in the contemporary kitchen in urban Yucatán. Focusing on the capital city, Merida, I examine everyday transformations that may or not be perceived as tied to neoliberal transformations. Thus, I take neoliberalism as a general name for a set of post-Fordist economic transformations that, as D. Harvey (1989) suggests, are accompanied by its own mode of regulation; that is, consumers appropriate in their everyday lives the logic of capitalist transformations and bracket their historical, political, and economic sources. In this sense, in Merida, the foodscape and the technoscape have expanded providing consumers with the perception of self-agency as they navigate the commercial urban terrain. General stores, retail stores, corner stores, department stores; markets, supermarkets, and hypermarkets; specialty stores, all combine to fragment and multiply the technological and edible goods creating the perception of abundance and individual/ist choice. This context fosters the transformation and re/design of kitchen spaces, the acquisition of different appliances, and cooking technologies, to replicate meals ranging from "traditional" to "postmodern" gastronomadic lifestyles. At the same time, the market of edible goods has expanded allowing a variety of comestibles that range from industrially processed, packaged and chemically altered ingredients, to fresh produce and on the other end of the market, organic, natural, alternative foodstuffs. This papers discusses the emergence of discursive formations that explain individuals' perception of empowerment and self-agency as they change their culinary habits within a neoliberal economic regime.

panel P37
Anthropology's obsession with neo-liberalism (EN)