What is it about?

This study attempts to identify and explain why a previously non-existent social category emerged in the first place. We examine the emergence of the Tex-Mex social category for food and cuisine. In studying Tex-Mex food, we present a brief analytical social history of the cuisine starting in Old Mexico and continuing up to contemporary times. We juxtapose the social facts that we report with prevailing theoretical ideas (social-activist theorization and similarity clustering) about category emergence drawn from organization theory.

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Why is it important?

Current theoretical accounts to be incomplete in explaining why Tex-Mex emerged. By contrast, our analysis directs attention to the status dynamics of ethnic majority/minority populations, early inexpensive mass industrialization of the food and certain geographic factors. Casual comparisons to other ethnic food categories appear to support the speculative argument we advance.


Provides unexpected insight into a part of our every day life. Who knew this story?

The Adams Distinguished Professor of Management Glenn R Carroll
Stanford University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Where did “Tex-Mex” come from? The divisive emergence of a social category, Research in Organizational Behavior, October 2017, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.riob.2017.09.003.
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