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Caribbean Globalizations, 1492 to the Present Day$
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Eva Sansavior and Richard Scholar

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381519

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381519.001.0001

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date: 21 October 2017

Tobacco

Tobacco

The Commodification of the Caribbean and the Origins of Globalization

Chapter:
(p.155) 6 Tobacco
Source:
Caribbean Globalizations, 1492 to the Present Day
Author(s):

Guillaume Pigeard de Gurbert

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781781381519.003.0006

This chapter uses the case of tobacco to document the history of economic globalization from the early modern period to the present. It recounts how tobacco reached Europe and was introduced by the Amerindians to the European colonizers. Tobacco had been a part of daily Amerindian life for several thousand years and its many functions and uses included the medical, social, magical, and religious. The chapter examines how the Europeans transformed tobacco into a commodity and argues that globalization was the process whereby a natural product, once indissolubly linked to a variety of cultural practices, became the consumable good of a triumphant monoculture. It describes tobacco as a reflection of the makings — and the inner workings — of our neoliberal economic system.

Keywords:   tobacco, economic globalization, Europe, Amerindians, commodity, globalization

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