The Histories of the Regional Political Economy

Susana Narotzky and Gavin Smith

in Immediate Struggles

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780520245686
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939011 | DOI:
The Histories of the Regional Political Economy

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This chapter explores the regional space as a historical site, focusing on the threshold between two subzones. One forms a curve running from Callosa del Segura through Orihuela to Crevillente, Elche, and then Alicante, and the second runs from the extreme south of the province, La Marina, and along the coast to Guardamar del Segura. It emerges less as a bounded territory, more as a series of force fields of several historical currents intersecting each other. These currents can be the relatively unpolarized rural households of Dolores, the highly polarized communities closer to the old city of Orihuela, or the manufactories of Callosa, Elche, or Crevillente. An aggregation of crisscrossing pathways and temporally unstable landscapes emerges from the study of these historical sites. Another history of variation becomes apparent when the focus is diverted to social relation from space, and that variation is sets of social bindings that had force in one setting but in their real outcomes generated ill-fitting combinations. Irrigated agriculture does not spread homogeneously through the area but is interlarded with barren scrublands. The richness of intensive agriculture offers an ecology for autoconsumption, and is also seen to be set within the wavering calls of international commercial demands. These demands are vines pushing out a potato harvest, hemp thirstily drinking up the water for wheat, and so on. Far from offering the kind of clearly distinctive site that might lead to a well-ordered ethnography, a kind of incoherence, a sort of placeless space crisscrossed with the multiple paths of historical discontinuities, is faced.

Keywords: regional political economy; Alicante; autoconsumption; Crevillente; households of Dolores

Chapter.  9782 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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