The chapters address topics ranging from the clothing of colonial subjects in South Africa and the rise of the hypermarket in Argentina, to the presentation of culture in international tourist hotels. Through their examination of cultural imperialism and cultural appropriation of the representation of otherness and identity, Howes and his contributors show how the increasingly global flow of goods and images challenges the very idea of the cultural border and creates new spaces for cultural invention.
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Set up a giveaway. Pages with related products. See and discover other items: Marketers have yet to position themselves as an anthropologist would "in the home" in an attempt to perceive things "from the native point of view". The student of marketing has little or no interest in products once they have been sold.
By contrast, the "domestication" or "afterlife of the commodity" is of primary interest to the student of the anthropology of consumption. Traditional models of consumer behaviour fail to recognize how creative and indeed "productive" this process of domestication-through-consumption can be. Consumers may find uses for products never imagined by their manufacturers, or may reject products for similarly "obscure" reasons. So too may consumers evidence significant creativity in terms of the range of meanings they impute to commodities.
By way of example, in Lifebuoy Men, Lux Women, Timothy Burke explores the ways Zimbabweans have redefined the use-value of Western personal care products.
He found that Zimbabweans not only use Western cosmetics and toiletries, such as Lifebuoy soap, in the ways intended by their manufacturers, but also use them in smearing practices, as medicine, and as fish bait. As another example, in her research on low-income households in Cairo reported in Between Marriage and the Market, Homa Hoodfar found that women prefer kerosene burners to gas or electric stoves because the former being portable allow the women to cook out of doors on their balconies, where they can socialize with their neighbours. When it comes to cooking in Cairo, social considerations take priority over considerations of efficiency, modernness, etc..
Many more examples of the novel uses and alternative meanings found in or for commodities when they cross cultural borders are discussed in Cross-Cultural Consumption: Project Funding and Team Membership. The team was formed in July to explore some of the issues arising from the globalization of the consumer society.
The team is strongly multidisciplinary and transcultural in orientation. The members of the Cross-Cultural Consumption research team share an interest in exploring the processes whereby "foreign" gooods are domesticated in our own and other cultures, and in considering and critiquing the role anthropological concepts and techniques might play in marketing and advertising research. The team has developed its own research paradigm, which we call the "cultural economy of consumption. Objectives of the Research.
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The project has five main objectives: What meaning do local people attach to goods or services of Western origin? What new or alternative uses do such goods acquire in the post-purchase context of the homes or businesses and lifestyles of their consumers? This branch of the research will involve turning the anthropological lens back on our own society, and draw on the product-country image literature e.
Popadopoulos and Heslop as well as classical anthropological research techniques McCracken ; Joy and Dholakia What is Russian about Russian vodka? How do images of the rainforest impact upon the meaning of goods from Brazil? This branch of the research is concerned with carrying forward the dialogue between anthropology and marketing that has begun to take shape through the publication of works by Eric Arnould and John Sherry , among other practitioners of "marketing anthropology.
To what extent has the world already become a single marketplace as a result of the globalization and standardization of products? The suggestion that cultural differences are increasingly being eroded through the world-wide replacement of local products with mass-produced goods which originate in the West must be taken seriously and examined empirically.
What business do anthropologists have in international business?
What are their ethical responsibilities? What can anthropologists bring to the elaboration of an ethics of international marketing practice? Anthropology has often been associated with cultural and ethical relativism. However, in the face of the globalization of the consumer society, with its sometimes detrimental consequences for local cultures see Classen and Howes , there is a pressing need for anthropologists to help articulate a cross-cultural ethics of marketing practices, and to reflect on what role anthropologists might play as mediators between local cultures and global marketers.