Marcos F. Lopez

Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 


Marcos Lopez is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Sociology and an affiliate with the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College. He completed his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz where his dissertation research compared the organization of production and work within the fresh strawberry industry in Mexico and the U.S. He is interested in understanding how culture and material inequalities lead to the formation of farmworker resistance outside the confines of labor unions. He has carried out extensive field research within farmworker communities in rural California and Mexico.


The Power of Water: Industrial Agriculture, Resource Inequalities, and Indigenous Farm Worker Resistance

In the San Quintín Valley, Baja California, Mexico, water flow in the desert grows export-oriented fresh strawberries and tomatoes. Using state subsidies, agricultural firms have developed a production regime to desalinate water in a region economists previously deemed inadequate for large-scale production. However, access to water is limited for the 40,000 migrant indigenous farm workers who harvest the fruit. Drawing on six months of ethnographic field research, this paper shows how indigenous farm workers use their limited access to water as a method to mobilize amid precarious labor condition and violence in the fields. I argue that their material response gives them the opportunity to reinstitute indigenous cultural institutions lost in the migration process and enables them to highlight labor inequalities without endangering their lives.

Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs
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