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Keywords:

  • agriculture;
  • Brazil;
  • culture;
  • theme;
  • trade fair

abstract.

Geographers have recognized that trade fairs and other temporary spaces function as centers of knowledge, but we have a weak understanding of how fairs are themed spaces, similar to parades, festivals, and built environments, that produce cultural and political meanings. In this article we analyze the morphology, iconography, and performance of a large agricultural fair in Brazil, the Bahia Farm Show, which produces a regional identity of highly productive, leading-edge, and globally competitive agriculture in a former economic backwater. We discuss the production of themes in terms of power relations, cultural processes, relations with nature, and sociotechnological norms for agriculture. Omissions from the Farm Show indicate tension and accommodation between elites at different geographical scales. Brazil's high-input, high-output agriculture relies in part on the meanings that events such as agricultural fairs sustain and reproduce.