Political Science

J.P. Allen ‘11: Made in Tianguis: Informal Commerce in Guadalajara, Mexico

Session: The Global Market- MBH 216 at 5:00 p.m. from the Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium
Faculty Sponsor: Nicole Chance, International Programs & Off Campus Study
Major: Political Science

Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, has grown and thrived primarily through commerce. Often the most important kind of commerce in the city is informal buying and selling at unfixed prices in unfixed or temporary locations. Important aspects of Tapatían (Guadalajaran) culture are represented in the day-to-day activity of street vendors and tianguis (open-air markets): the mixture of the sacred and the mundane, attitudes toward piracy and images, and above all, a focus on customs rather than rules. This project gathers information from maps, photographs, the historical record, interviews, and personal experiences to tell a brief story of Tapatían culture as revealed through the tianguis tent. This presentation is adapted from a long-form essay (in Spanish), written during a semester on Middlebury’s program in Guadalajara.