Buying into the Regime

Grapes and Consumption in Cold War Chile and the United States

Buying into the Regime

American Encounters/Global Interactions

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Book Pages: 376 Illustrations: 22 photographs, 2 maps, 2 figures Published: January 2014

Author: Heidi Tinsman

Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, History > Latin American History, U.S. History

Buying into the Regime is a transnational history of how Chilean grapes created new forms of consumption and labor politics in both the United States and Chile. After seizing power in 1973, Augusto Pinochet embraced neoliberalism, transforming Chile’s economy. The country became the world's leading grape exporter. Heidi Tinsman traces the rise of Chile's fruit industry, examining how income from grape production enabled fruit workers, many of whom were women, to buy the commodities—appliances, clothing, cosmetics—flowing into Chile, and how this new consumerism influenced gender relations, as well as pro-democracy movements. Back in the United States, Chilean and U.S. businessmen aggressively marketed grapes as a wholesome snack. At the same time, the United Farm Workers and Chilean solidarity activists led parallel boycotts highlighting the use of pesticides and exploitation of labor in grape production. By the early-twenty-first century, Americans may have been better informed, but they were eating more grapes than ever.


Buying into the Regime is a fascinating history of grapes and consumption during the Cold War, focusing specifically on the close relationship between the United States and Chile….That the book consciously avoids simple answers makes it an especially welcome addition to the literature on the Cold War in Chile.” — Gregory Weeks, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

 "An exceptionally rich work that will undoubtedlybbecome a staple of graduate-level food, labor, and gender courses for years to come."  — Bartow J. Elmore, Journal of American History

"In this compelling work, Heidi Tinsman has opened up new ways to conceptualize transnationalism in history.... with Tinsman’s insights in hand, contemporary movement organizers can hope to avoid some of the mistakes of their predecessors." — Eileen Findlay, Hispanic American Historical Review

"Based on extensive field work and impressive archival research, Buying into the Regime is a creative history of the Chilean grape and fruit industry and its relations to U.S. institutions, markets, and politics from the 1920s into the twenty-first century."  — Brian Loveman, American Historical Review

“[A] brilliant and idiosyncratic addition to the burgeoning literature of commodity history…. Tinsman has written a sweeping and provocative book that encourages us to reframe our views of Chilean and US history.” — Jason M. Colby, Canadian Journal of History

"A wonderful model of rethinking imperial models of history and a rich analysis of how working people themselves, across vast distances, have taken on the challenges of promoting democracy within the deeply interwoven webs of global power." — Dana Frank, Labor

"Given the fluid writing style and the Californian/Chilean geographic setting encountered in this historical case study, one could easily imagine that the book under review is the latest installment of acclaimed Chilean novelist Isabel Allende's saga of the adventures of Eliza Sommers and her descendants. Buying into the Regime, however, is so much more than a well-written novel.... Students and scholars of US and Chilean gender, labor, and commodity history will benefit from reading this path-breaking study." — Michael R. Hall, Journal of Third World Studies

"I wholeheartedly recommend this book to those interested in comparative Latin American and US history, social movements, and rural and gender studies." — Christobal Kay, Journal of Latin American Studies

“Nonspecialists, graduate students, and undergraduates will read this important book easily and with enthusiasm. Specialists in Chilean, Latin American, US, labor, gender, and transnational history will agree that Buying into the Regime is on the cutting edge of historical research. It is a brilliant example of linking local actors to larger historical processes, both within national borders and beyond them.” — Brandi A. Townsend, History: Reviews of New Books

"This  book  is recommended for use in courses on gender and labor in the United States and Latin America."  — Colonial Latin American Historical Review

"Buying into the Regime is an admirably researched, well-conceived, and creative work that should find a broad audience." — Timothy J. Henderson, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"With grapes as her medium, Tinsman sheds new light on two complex relationships: that between the United States and Chile, and that between consumerism and social justice in both nations....Scholars of Chile, the United States, food, gender, and consumption will each learn a great deal from Buying into the Regime." — Tore C. Olsson, The Latin Americanist

"[The scope of her work spans a wide range of geographic space and academic disciplines in order to provide a democratic, comprehensive, and transnational view of the production and consumption of a commodity.... Her in-depth historical analysis from Latin America offers transnational lessons that are applicable to current and future processes of globalization." — Andrea Delgado, Ameriquests

"Buying into the Regime is a path breaking study of gender, labor, and consumption in Chile and the United States. Heidi Tinsman masterfully integrates U.S. and Latin American history. Her book is not only a major contribution to Chilean history; it should also be required reading for U.S. historians and their graduate students. I anticipate that it will work beautifully in undergraduate courses as well." — Julie Greene, author of The Canal Builders: Making America's Empire at the Panama Canal

"Linking production, consumption, and social conflict in grape production in California and Chile, Heidi Tinsman traces historical connections and interesting disconnects between the industries and social movements in both countries. United Farm Worker support for undocumented workers in California did not expand into an internationalist consciousness, while the anticonsumerism of anti-Pinochet activists overlooked the contradictory combination of empowerment and exploitation experienced by female fruit workers. A fascinating example of the benefits of a transnational approach." — Florencia E. Mallon, editor of Decolonizing Native Histories: Collaboration, Knowledge, and Language in the Americas


Availability: In stock
Price: $28.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Heidi Tinsman is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Partners in Conflict: The Politics of Sexuality, Gender, and Labor in the Chilean Agrarian Reform, 1950–1973 and a coeditor of Imagining Our Americas: Toward a Transnational Frame, both also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1. The Long Miracle: Collaborations in the Chilean Fruit Industry, 1900–1990 25

2. Fables of Abundance: Grape Workers and Consumption in Chile 64

3. The Fresh Sell: Marketing Grapes in the United States 103

4. Boycott Grapes! Challenges by the United Farm Workers and the Chile Solidarity Movement 146

5. Not Buying It: Democracy Struggles in Chile 207

Epilogue 255

Notes 267

Bibliography 331

Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5535-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5520-5
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