Exploring the Tomato: Transformations of Nature, Society and Economy

ISBN: 9781843761891
Publisher: Edward Elgar Pub
Edition: illustrated edition
Publication Date: 2003-02
Number of pages: 320
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Exploring the Tomato engages with an apparently simple fruit in order to reveal major changes to society and economy. It treats the tomato as an object of fascination and as a probe into major historical changes in twentieth century capitalism. From first domestication to genetic modification, from Aztec salsa to supermarket pizza, the tomato has been continually transformed in the ways it has been produced, exchanged and consumed. This book explores what brings about a variety that is at once biological, historical and socio-economic. A conceptual framework of 'instituted economic process' demonstrates how different tomato forms are an expression of dynamic processes in capitalist economies and societies during the twentieth century. As both an early pioneer in mass production and a contemporary contributor to the creation of global cuisines, the tomato has been subject to intense innovation. Computerised total ecologies under glass, producing fresh tomatoes of all shapes, colours and sizes, compete with sun and southern climates across the world. To enter the variety of tomato worlds is to discover the variety of capitalism. Written in an accessible style, this book makes a major contribution to the emerging field of economic sociology and to our understanding of the innovation process. It should be read by anyone concerned with social science, particularly economists and sociologists, as well as those interested in food and the history of food.

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