Cross-Cultural Consumption: Global Markets, Local Realities by David Howes

By David Howes

Items are imbued with meanings and makes use of by means of their manufacturers. after they are exported, they could act as a method of verbal exchange or domination. even though, there is not any be sure that the intentions of the manufacturer may be famous, less revered, by way of the shopper from one other tradition. Cross-Cultural intake is an interesting consultant to the cultural implications of the globalization of a client society. The chapters deal with issues starting from the garments of colonial topics in South Africa and the increase of the hypermarket in Argentina, to the presentation of tradition in overseas vacationer inns. via their exam of cultural imperialism and cultural appropriation of the illustration of otherness and id, Howes and his members exhibit how the more and more international move of products and photographs demanding situations the very suggestion of the cultural border and creates new areas for cultural invention. Marian Bredin, Concordia collage, Constance Classen, Jean Comaroff, college of Chicago, Mary Crain, college of Barcelona, Carol Handrickson, Marlboro Colleg

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Their dress would be made almost entirely from store-bought materials. Yet these commodities would be used to craft a novel conservatism, an existence beyond the exigencies of innovation and endless metropolitan mimicry that defined black petite bourgeois culture. ‘Ethnic’ dress, in fact, seemed part of a local effort to stabilize a radically compromised identity. Yet it was also a mark of displacement from the centres of social and cultural production. Fashion seems especially appropriate for this task in the modern world, for it epitomizes the power of the commodity to encompass the self: not only does fashion’s insistence on ‘pure contemporaneity’ render those who do not wear it ‘out of date’ and parochial (Faurschou 1990:235); it also confirms the fact that, in a commodity culture, identity is something owned apart from one’s self, something that must continuously be ‘put on’ and displayed (Bowlby 1985:27–8; cf.

When, in 1843, the 27 JEAN COMAROFF Moffats returned to Cape Town from a visit to the United Kingdom, they sailed with fifty tons of ‘old clothes’ for the Kuruman station (Northcott 1961:172). The famous David Livingstone, sometime missionary among the Tswana, was scathing about the ‘good people’ of England who had given their cast-off ballgowns and starched collars to those ‘who had no shirts’ (1961:173). But a letter from Mrs Moffat to a woman well-wisher in London shows that she had thought carefully about the adaptation of Western dress to African conditions: The materials may be coarse, and strong, the stronger the better.

With its characteristic Protestant ardour, the civilizing mission professed the faith that commodities could conjure new desires, bodily disciplines, and exertions; indeed, new forms of society tout court. And nowhere was this faith more visible than in the realm of self-presentation—especially in modes of dress. 1 I shall explore the Nonconformist campaign to cover African ‘nakedness’—in particular, to make the Southern Tswana susceptible to the aesthetics of European fashion. This project was driven by a clear sense that civilization was promoted by encouraging discerning consumption.

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