Fresh Fruit Broken Bodies Book Review

1182 Words 5 Pages
Seth Holmes is a cultural anthropologist and a physician. His research focuses on issues such as social inequalities, ethnic hierarchies, immigration, and healthcare. Holmes’ Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies is a riveting ethnography that describes the suffering of undocumented Triqui farmworkers from Oaxaca, Mexico. In this ethnography, Holmes calls for immigration and healthcare reform, and emphasizes the high costs to human bodies and the planet of cheap food accessible in developed countries thanks to Third World labor. The book is based on 18 months of full-time, multi-sited ethnographic research encompassing a multinational agricultural migrant circuit linking villages in Oaxaca, Mexico to agricultural areas of Washington State, Oregon, and …show more content…
Powerful people, like politicians and policy makers, use their power to stratify migrant workers by describing them with derogatory terms like “illegal aliens” that create fear and correlate vindication of legislations that exclude them from seeking education, healthcare, and other services. Holmes stresses that migrant workers deserve more respect because they are very hardworking and law-abiding people. Unfortunately, the deep-rooted anti-immigrant sentiment translates over to the farm, where class, citizenship, language, and race form primary power fault lines. The structural violence of labor hierarchies in America organized around these attributes positions the Triqui at the bottom, with the most dangerous and difficult occupations and the worst accommodations. Holmes justifies the above by describing his experience of berry picking (“It honestly felt like pure torture” says Holmes) and living with the Triqui in deplorable conditions. The corporatization of American agriculture in tandem with liberal trade policies squeezes the profit margin of growers, limiting their ability to increase pay and/or improve living and working conditions for migrant workers. In this case, it can be noticed that structural violence is enacted by market rule and later channeled by international and domestic racism, classism, and anti-immigrant

Related Documents