Commercial Interactions in the Buenos Aires Central Wholesale Produce Market

A.M.G. Arce, M.L. Viteri

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The Buenos Aires Central Wholesale Produce Market (BACWM) in Argentina supplies 1,500,000 tons of produce yearly to more than 11 million consumers and receives about 13,000 trucks a week from areas within and outside the country. This market faced global transformations with the emergence of supermarkets in the 1980s. Supermarkets started buying fruit and vegetables from wholesalers, but later dealt directly with producers. To understand the evolution of the relationship between wholesalers and supermarkets, this essay uses the concept of knowledge interface. The research question is how knowledge is transferred and negotiated between different kinds of actors, and how wholesalers and supermarket procurement managers negotiate conflicts and acquire knowledge. The relation between buyers and sellers involves different kinds of knowledge and power, and their interactions generate unplanned results. The negotiation between tacit knowledge embodied in the wholesalers and the knowledge about quality and logistics that supermarkets want in their procurements allows the actors to resolve problems. This social encounter is a clear example of how geographically distant actors (e.g., international supermarket companies) shape social processes, strategies, and actions in local settings
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-166
JournalEthnology : an International Journal of Cultural Anthropology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • supermarkets
  • networks
  • vegetables
  • quality


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