Banana Wars: Power, Production, and History in the Americas

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Steve Striffler, Mark Moberg
Duke University Press, Nov 20, 2003 - Business & Economics - 364 pages
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DIVOver the past century, the banana industry has radically transformed Latin America and the Caribbean and become a major site of United States–Latin American interaction. Banana Wars is a history of the Americas told through the cultural, political, economic, and agricultural processes that brought bananas from the forests of Latin America and the Caribbean to the breakfast tables of the United States and Europe. The first book to examine these processes in all the western hemisphere regions where bananas are grown for sale abroad, Banana Wars advances the growing body of scholarship focusing on export commodities from historical and social scientific perspectives.

Bringing together the work of anthropologists, sociologists, economists, historians, and geographers, this collection reveals how the banana industry marshaled workers of differing nationalities, ethnicities, and languages and, in so doing, created unprecedented potential for conflict throughout Latin American and the Caribbean. The frequently abusive conditions that banana workers experienced, the contributors point out, gave rise to one of Latin America’s earliest and most militant labor movements. Responding to both the demands of workers’ organizations and the power of U.S. capital, Latin American governments were inevitably affected by banana production. Banana Wars explores how these governments sometimes asserted their sovereignty over foreign fruit companies, but more often became their willing accomplices. With several essays focusing on the operations of the extraordinarily powerful United Fruit Company, the collection also examines the strategies and reactions of the American and European corporations seeking to profit from the sale of bananas grown by people of different cultures working in varied agricultural and economic environments.

Contributors
Philippe Bourgois
Marcelo Bucheli
Dario Euraque
Cindy Forster
Lawrence Grossman
Mark Moberg
Laura T. Raynolds
Karla Slocum
John Soluri
Steve Striffler
Allen Wells
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Contents

Introduction
1
A Global Fruit
21
The Global Banana Trade
23
Linking the Production and Consumption of Export Bananas 18001980
48
United Fruit Company in Latin America
80
Central and South America
101
One Hundred Years of United Fruit Company Letters
103
The United Fruit Company Resident Elites and Colonial State in British Honduras
145
Race and Ethnicity in the Honduran Banana Economy 1920s and 1930s
229
The Caribbean
251
Discourses and Counterdiscourses on Globalization and the St Lucian Banana Industry
253
The St Vincent Banana Growers Association Contract Farming and the Peasantry
286
Dialectical Bananas
316
Bibliography
335
Contributors
361
Index
363

United Fruit Popular Struggle and Capitalist Transformation in Ecuador
171
Banana Workers and National Revolution in Tiquisate 19441954
191

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About the author (2003)

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Steve Striffler is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Latin American Studies at the University of Arkansas and the author of In the Shadows of State and Capital: The United Fruit Company, Popular Struggle, and Agrarian Restructuring in Ecuador, 1900–1995 (Duke University Press), winner of the Labor Section of the Latin American Studies Association’s 2003 award for Best Book.

Mark Moberg is Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Alabama. He is the author of Myths of Ethnicity and Nation: Immigration, Work, and Identity in the Belize Banana Industry and Citrus, Strategy, and Class: The Politics of Development in Southern Belize.

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