By Elizabeth Emma Ferry
Elizabeth Emma Ferry lines the flow of minerals as they move from Mexican mines to markets, museums, and personal collections on each side of the US-Mexico border. She describes how and why those byproducts of ore mining grow to be valued via humans in numerous walks of existence as clinical specimens, non secular choices, artistic endeavors, and comfort collectibles. the tale of mineral exploration and exchange defines a variegated transnational area, laying off new mild at the complicated courting among those international locations and on the
process of creating price itself.
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Extra resources for Minerals, Collecting, and Value across the US-Mexico Border
The district revived with the bonanza of the mines of nearby La Luz in the 1840s (Blanco et al. 2000:124; Jáuregui 1996) and again with the advent of cyanide processing in the first years of the twentieth century (Martin 1905; Meyer Cosío 1999; Rickard 1907). S. mining companies began to arrive in the last several years of the nineteenth century, and their presence increased dramatically after the arrival of electricity to Guanajuato in 1904. -owned (Meyer Cosío 1999:101). In the 1930s, a series of strikes (part of a burgeoning national labor movement and an upsurge of resource-based nationalism) disrupted most of the mining corporations in Guanajuato.
Borrowing from both political economy and actor-network theory, I show how particular objects of scientific value were created (or failed to be created) and how these became or failed to become new protagonists in the ongoing process of making value. S. or European) scientist; the mineralogical activities of the two Boundary Commissions jointly responsible for surveying the new border after Mexico’s defeat in the Mexican-American War (1850s); and current efforts to research and publicize the spectacular gypsum caves in Naica, Chihuahua.
The attention to the active and processual nature of value that I underscore here resonates with C. A. Gregory’s concept of “valuation,” which he defines as a process of comparing objects within a “generally accepted standard of value” (1997:13). Gregory goes on to note that standards of value “are generally accepted but never universally so,” introducing a necessary component of diversity of opinion and contention. 3 Graeber spends a good deal of energy critiquing the concept of value as meaningful difference on the grounds that “it is one thing to say that women in a market in Papua New Guinea are likely to see two lumps of apparently identical fish as different.