Abstract

In a setting of increased movement, communication, and flows across space, commodity-chain networks bring valued cultural commodities to transnational communities. My article examines the networks bringing foreign cuisine ingredients to Peruvian transnational communities in San Francisco, California. It contributes to our understanding of transnational space by mapping the networks that move food items between Peru and San Francisco and analyzing the control of those networks. Through interviews with chefs, migrants, and company representatives as well as analysis of U.S. import data, this article serves as an example of how local- and global-scale activities influence and produce one another, how the recent increase of global networks resides within a set of uneven power relationships, and how these networks are highly limited by physical geography and social factors such as wealth and position. The research offers commentary on the role of food as a cultural marker for Peruvian migrants and on the relations of power within the commodity network. This research unites economy and culture at the local and global scales while showing how “things” are imbued with cultural meaning during the processes of production to consumption on a transnational network.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1551-3211
Print ISSN
0066-9628
Pages
pp. 82-101
Launched on MUSE
2014-09-30
Open Access
No
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