Mexicanness, hybrid attachments and the economy of passion
Maximino Matus (El Colegio de la Frontera Norte)
Paper short abstract:
The paper analyzes how the desire to affect and be affected by foreign bodies informs the commoditization of food products offered in Mexican restaurants in Amsterdam, Madrid and San Francisco. I argue that actors' attachments to passionate networks enable diverse Mexican foodscapes to be enacted.
Paper long abstract:
This paper analyzes how the desire to affect (affectus) and be affected by (affectio) foreign bodies informs the commoditization of food products offered in Mexican restaurants in Amsterdam, Madrid and San Francisco. I argue that actors' attachments to passionate networks enable diverse Mexican foodscapes to be enacted. I conceive of foodscapes as intersemiotic translations of landscapes. In these translations, food commoditization is based on relationships with entities dwelling in Mexican and U.S. landscapes. In their efforts to enact these affective foodscapes, entrepreneurs arrange entities according to particular themes, genres and chronotopes; they provide coherence to the translations; and they enable their repetition, opposition and adaptation. The resulting foodscapes have the power (power as both pouvoir and puissance) to function as potent or impotent signs, which are able to constitute or destroy relations among bodies by fixing beliefs or contaminating new passions. This paper also explores how the researcher became interested in the study of "passionate networks" by explaining how people used to attach his "Mexican body" to certain objects (e.g. cactus, food, tequila, songs and ponchos), knowledge (e.g. how to drink tequila), and affections (affectio) and also explores how the same phenomena extended to Mexican restaurants. I argue that somehow, in both cases (my own self and the restaurants), Mexicanness is produced by attachments of objects, bodies and images; by extension, attachments associate our hybrid bodies to affections related to Mexicanness: happiness, informality, relaxed behavior, etc.
Crafting attachments, making worlds