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Exploring the Tomato

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Exploring the Tomato

Transformations of Nature, Society and Economy

9781843761891 Edward Elgar Publishing
Mark Harvey, Professor and Director, Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation, Department of Sociology, University of Essex, UK, Stephen Quilley, University of Waterloo, Canada and Huw Beynon, Director, School of Social Sciences, University of Cardiff, UK
Publication Date: 2003 ISBN: 978 1 84376 189 1 Extent: 320 pp
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.

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Contents
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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.
Critical Acclaim
‘. . . this volume is a fascinating interdisciplinary study, and well worth reading.’
– Long Range Planning

‘Exploring the Tomato is a fascinating and stimulating read,interweaving human stories provided by avowedly economic agents within an explicitly relational analytical framework.’
– Tony Gore, Economic Issues

‘The authors of this book claim that the tomato’s history mirrors a fundamental shift in how we produce, process, market, and consume our food. To make the case, they combine historical research with organizational analysis, case studies, and interviews with growers, seed producers, warehouse operatives, food processors, and store managers. The results are impressive.’
– James J. Lang, Technology and Culture

‘Exploring the Tomato is a wonderful study of contemporary capitalism, as mirrored through the tomato. The authors explore social, economic, historical and biological aspects of the tomato in what deserves to become a minor classic. Read it and enjoy!’
– Richard Swedberg, Cornell University, US
Contents
Contents: 1. The Human Tomato Part I: From Domestication to Genetic Modification 2. From Nature into Culture and Economy 3. Broken Glass 4. The Round European Tomato 5. The Fabrication of Nature 6. The Rise and Fall of the Genetically Modified Tomato Part II: Twentieth-Century Tomato Configurations 7. Tomato: A Pioneer of Mass Production 8. The Battle of Tomato Identities: The Rise of Supermarket Own-Label 9. Growing New Routes 10. Supermarket Tomato 11. Tomato Variations or Plus C’est la Même Chose, Plus ça Change Bibliography Appendix: List of Interviews Index
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