Economic Life of Mexican Beach Vendors

Economic Life of Mexican Beach Vendors : Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas

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Based on the life histories of 166 beach vendors in three Mexican tourist centers-men and women whose income-generating activities form part of the informal or semi-informal economy-Economic Life of Mexican Beach Vendors explores their educational and employment aspirations and their family connections to vending. It also addresses how the vendors have been affected by the current economic recession, their residential segregation in neighborhoods far from the tourist zones, and the special cases of indigenous and of women more

Product details

  • Hardback | 218 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 498.95g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0739177648
  • 9780739177648

Review quote

[Wilson's] abundant biographical sketches of individual beach vendors contribute to a significant humanization of these complex creatures of contemporary globalization. Anthropology of Work Review As an anthropologist living many years in Mexico, Tamar Diana Wilson has observed the vicissitudes of informal work carried out by beach vendors in their quest for a livelihood. Based on interviews in three tourism destinations, her research offers rich narratives and solid material, shedding light on how these vendors, like their counterpart street vendors around the globe, are making do under conditions of neoliberalism. Sales of souvenirs and other items typically garner little income and the vendors, many of them female and indigenous, are further marginalized by low education and few alternatives. Nonetheless, Wilson discovers not only their struggles and disappointments but their hopes and dreams and the satisfaction they take in carrying out their work. This book will be of interest to all those concerned with informal economy and tourism in Latin America and beyond. -- Florence E. Babb, author of The Tourism Encounter: Fashioning Latin American Nations and Histories Anyone who reads this book will undoubtedly change the way they view mobile beach vendors the next time they take a sun and sand vacation. Wilson follows a long tradition of economic anthropological research that explains the daily struggles of penny capitalists through the personal lenses of largely marginalized and disenfranchised workers who find themselves selling trinkets to tourists in order to subsist. Her study is an important contribution to the study of street vendors in the tourism sector and informal economies of the Global South, precisely, because she reveals how vendors feel about their livelihoods and places their aspirations within the harsh neoliberal economic policies that have undermined traditional farming and women's work in particular. -- Walter E. Little, University at Albany, SUNY In this meticulously documented investigation, anthropologist Tamar Diana Wilson helps us understand the backgrounds, ambitions, fortunes, and trials faced by Mexican beach vendors in three pivotal touristic zones. Combining comparative, qualitative, and quantitative research, this book offers rich and detailed findings with significant implications for policy makers and scholars alike. Examining neoliberal globalization and the history of tourism development, Wilson astutely locates the personal narratives of informants as part of global and local processes that include internal migration, land displacement, and the ebbs and flows of social networks. By also highlighting their aspirations, the study accomplishes two objectives. One, informants are not depicted as victims of macro-politics but as complex agents who craft lives of contentment and dreams, even while confronting various forms of socio-economic exclusions, inequalities, and ostracism. Secondly, the analysis of ambitions is a unique theoretical contribution to the study of the informal economy-a field of research that is crucial for understanding the forces of globalization. Economic Life of Mexican Beach Vendors is also essential reading for those interested in migration, women's and indigenous issues, and the experiences of street vendors and the self-employed. -- Amalia L. Cabezas, University of California, Riversideshow more

About Tamar Diana Wilson

Tamar Diana Wilson, PhD, is a research affiliate with the department of anthropology at the University of Missouri, St. more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments Introduction: The (Semi-)Informal Economy and Tourism in Mexico 1. Wasted Lives? Aspirations of the Vendors 2. Levels of Contentment among the Beach Vendors 3. The Family Legacy of the Beach Vendors 4. Globalization and the Increase of Beach Vendors 5. De Facto Residential Apartheid 6. Indigenous Vendors 7. Women Vendors Conclusions References Appendix I. The Interview Schedule Appendix II. List of Vendors Interviewed Index About the Authorshow more