Export quality: the historical bloc, state of exception, and the hegemonic process in the avocado enclave of Michoacán

Denisse Roman* (Corresponding Author), Ricardo F. Macip-Ríos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this article, we offer an ethnographic and historical analysis of the avocado enclave of Michoacán, Mexico, from a Gramscian theoretical perspective. The apparent contradiction between the export boom in avocados and criminal violence in the region must be seen in the context of the ideological content necessary to achieve “export quality.” Regional comparative advantages, far from being a simple prescription to justify the dominance of the North American Free Trade Agreement, are the sine qua non of the intended integration. These advantages are not limited to types of soil and the availability and appropriation of water. They demand articulations between companies and legal sanction from various levels of government in Mexico and the USA, the ordering of factors of production, and the moral and intellectual leadership of antagonistic groups moving in the same direction. All available resources are mobilized to meet these criteria, including those of an extralegal nature, making it impossible to act or think outside the workings of the dominant framework. To approach this research problem, we draw on the concepts of Gramsci’s historical bloc and Agamben’s state of exception. Our analysis will allow for comparisons with other regions of the world, particularly other agro-export enclaves, and a better understanding of the contemporary transformations of Mexican state formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-246
Number of pages22
JournalDialectical Anthropology
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2022


  • Agroindustry
  • historical bloc
  • state of exception
  • self-defense groups
  • hegemonic process
  • Mexico


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