In both their commodity and noncommodity phases turkey tails are objects of

In both their commodity and noncommodity phases

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culturally meaningful food. In both their commodity and noncommodity phases, turkey tails are objects of communication that carry cultural messages between people. Figure 1. Turkey tails. Sources: and Humble turkey tails, in short, are quintessential commodities. Their life histories are dominated by their social life as objects of exchange, but their biographies are not exhausted by this phase, which would not exist without its final noncommodity closure as a desired thing in the world. In this final phase, the turkey tail commodity is transformed within the contexts of societies, languages, and cuisines that have no traditional direct knowledge of or exposure to turkeys as living birds. Rather, turkey tails have been absorbed into, and given novel cultural meanings, as a consequence of international patterns of trade between developed and developing nations. As Kopytoff (1986:67) observes, what is significant about the adoption of alien objects like turkey tails "is not the fact that they are adopted, but the way they are culturally redefined and put to use" by different social groups. A parallel is the pivotal cultural role of codfish—a cold water fish that cannot live in the Caribbean—in the desired cultural dish of bacalao within contemporary Caribbean cuisines, or the alternative bakalar s krumpirom, a popular codfish and potato dish among Serbians and Croatians, or the French brandade, a codfish dip, the turkey tail and its consumption embody the political ecology of a globalized world. Analysis of mobile commodities like turkey challenges the dominant understanding that neoliberal globalization is inevitable and homogenizing, revealing it instead to be "partial, uneven and unstable; a socially contested rather than logical process [giving rise to] many spaces of resistance, alternity and possibility" (Whatmore and Thorne 1997:289).
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