Date of Award

8-1-2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Sutton, David

Abstract

This thesis examines the anthropology of markets and shopping practices in Mercado Pino Suárez, an indoor market located in Centro Historico in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico. The research objective of this anthropological fieldwork is to investigate how markets are a center for social relationships that influence shopping and consumption. Sociability between consumers and vendors is significant as it defines a market. The field research is a two-month-long summer project conducted to understand why people shop at the market, with a major focus on shopping for food related products. Interviews and participant observation, including participation as a consumer or as a volunteer vendor, support observations of social shopping practices that occur within the market. Shoppers attend the market for various reasons, such as purchasing for convenience, price, and quality of the products. However, this thesis will elucidate how shoppers visit the market for the experience of socializing which contributes to familiarity and trust from knowing vendors and their products. Mercado Pino Suárez exemplifies how the market is a shopping experience where vendors and shoppers can be neighbors, friends, and family. Shopper and vendor interactions go beyond economic reasons where people share ideas about food and cuisine, thus illuminating the market’s significance in shaping local culture.

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