In this article, I argue that paqueteros and paqueteras humanize an increasingly dehumanized food system, connecting people and places culturally who are divided by borders and food policy. Their activities constitute an important, while underacknowledged link between migrant communities and the places they came from, largely operating informally and without governmental support, although not without official scrutiny. Building on two decades of ethnographic data, I explore the practices and significance of paquetería, informal package deliveries, in the context of US-Mexico food policy after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA, recently renamed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement) and an increasingly globalized food system that systematically marginalizes and excludes human-scaled food production, processing, distribution, and consumption in favor of industrialized, corporate food.
Paqueteros and Paqueteras: Humanizing a Dehumanized Food System
Alyshia Gálvez is a cultural and medical anthropologist and is Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at Lehman College and of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has published three books, including Eating NAFTA: Trade, Food Policies, and the Destruction of Mexico (University of California Press, 2018).
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Alyshia Gálvez; Paqueteros and Paqueteras: Humanizing a Dehumanized Food System. Gastronomica 1 February 2021; 21 (1): 27–37. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2021.21.1.27
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