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Performative regional (dis)integration: transnational markets, mobile commodities, and bordered North – South differences

  • Linguistics


Being implicated in an ambivalent play of both border crossing and drawing, global commodity chains are an ideal organizational field to analyze the fundamental paradox of global connectivity. Approaching the contingency of borders from a perspective informed by the performativity approach to markets, this paper starts from the assumption that this paradox is particularly salient in the context of commodity chains which connect the Global South with the Global North. Taking the example of one single agrocommodity, the tomato, and two border regions (Morocco – EU and Mexico – USA), we follow the links and heterogeneous associations which stretch from the border to the fields, supermarket shelves, and standardization agencies to migrant labor, quality-control apparatuses, and so forth. By reading commodity chains from their literal limits, that is, from the border and from the margins, we focus on an element of this global assemblage which is normally taken for granted and excluded from academic and public discourse.

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