Date of Graduation

Winter 12-16-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies


International Studies

First Advisor

Rue Ziegler


The unique public markets of Barcelona are poised for a thriving future based on their theoretical and empirical grounding and commitment to both global influences as well as the local traditions of trade and consumption. This global/local balance keeps the markets relevant to contemporary consumers and allows them to have a well-rounded experience as they shop. In this paper, I trace the history and previous incarnations of public markets through the Greeks, Romans and Arabs, as well as consider the European situation and its fluctuations over the centuries. I then uncover the debate surrounding globalization, its influence on the food system, and the technological and anthropological perspectives that inform future trajectories. Thereafter, I analyze the role of globalization manifested through the goals of the IMMB and their current tactics, including creating supermarkets within the markets and creating and participating in international organizations. Similarly, I then examine the role of the IMMB and the community, primarily through the role of the products, the vendors, the consumers, and the markets social contributions. By probing the layers of the market system, it is possible to fully comprehend the drastic influence they have on the citizens, the city of Barcelona, as well as the other various cities and countries involved with the markets, thus understanding the importance of why concentrating on the markets today will help to ensure the dynamism of food consumption as well as a healthy city overall—economically, culturally, and socially—will continue to thrive into the future.