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Estudios sociales (Hermosillo, Son.)

Print version ISSN 0188-4557


GARCIA GARZA, Domingo. An economic ethnography of Mexico's taco street market. The Monterrey case. Estud. soc [online]. 2011, vol.19, n.37, pp.31-63. ISSN 0188-4557.

Various social sciences (economics, history, anthropology) have addressed the issue of food street vending. However, very few studies have seriously taken under consideration one of the most emblematic dishes of Mexican food: street tacos. This article outlines the genesis of street taco's markets through a social-historical perspective. Contrary to the belief that street taco's market is immemorial, this historical ethnography shows how it arises in the mid-20th century. Some structural macro factors such as industrialization of the tortilla, population growth, the limits of import-substitution model and undernourishment explain the emergence and proliferation of taco's stands in Monterrey's streets. Coupled with a micro analysis, this ethnography identifies the main characteristics of street taco's market (qualitative uncertainty, asymmetry of information, discrepancies of evaluation). These features allow us to understand how this market works. Through a detailed ethnographic description this paper shows the social background behind the economic transactions of food's dubious condition.

Keywords : economy; food; tacos; food hawkers; ethnography; informality; markets; entrepreneurship; quality.

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