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Suitably Modern: Making Middle-Class Culture in a New Consumer Society

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Suitably Modern: Making Middle-Class Culture in a New Consumer Society Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Suitably Modern traces the growth of a new middle class in Kathmandu as urban Nepalis harness the modern cultural resources of mass media and consumer goods to build modern identities and pioneer a new sociocultural space in one of the world's "least developed countries."

Since Nepal's "opening" in the 1950s, a new urban population of bureaucrats, service personnel, small business owners, and others have worked to make a space between Kathmandu's old (and still privileged) elites and its large (and growing) urban poor. Mark Liechty looks at the cultural practices of this new middle class, examining such phenomena as cinema and video viewing, popular music, film magazines, local fashion systems, and advertising. He explores three interactive and mutually constitutive ethnographic terrains: a burgeoning local consumer culture, a growing mass-mediated popular imagination, and a recently emerging youth culture. He shows how an array of local cultural narratives--stories of honor, value, prestige, and piety--flow in and around global narratives of "progress," modernity, and consumer fulfillment. Urban Nepalis simultaneously adopt and critique these narrative strands, braiding them into local middle-class cultural life.

Building on both Marxian and Weberian understandings of class, this study moves beyond them to describe the lived experience of "middle classness"--how class is actually produced and reproduced in everyday practice. It considers how people speak and act themselves into cultural existence, carving out real and conceptual spaces in which to produce class culture.

Synopsis:

"This penetrating study of consumption practices in Kathmandu captures the emergence of a new kind of class-based cultural experience, one in which media images and purchased goods increasingly serve as instruments of middle-class self-fashioning. As much a study of profound transformations in Nepali society as a whole as it is an analysis of the lived reality of an emergent bourgeois sensibility, Liechty's research offers important insights into the local cultural ramifications of contemporary forms of globalization."--Stacy Pigg, Simon Fraser University

"Providing a well-grounded and at times startling picture of the creation of class identity, Liechty's work succeeds admirably in its goals to document practices of urban middle-class life and the ways these practices produce a newly constituted class. This is a strong, stimulating, and needed contribution to the exciting nascent field of class theory and ethnography in anthropology."--Sara Dickey, Bowdoin College

Synopsis:

Suitably Modern traces the growth of a new middle class in Kathmandu as urban Nepalis harness the modern cultural resources of mass media and consumer goods to build modern identities and pioneer a new sociocultural space in one of the world's "least developed countries."

Since Nepal's "opening" in the 1950s, a new urban population of bureaucrats, service personnel, small business owners, and others have worked to make a space between Kathmandu's old (and still privileged) elites and its large (and growing) urban poor. Mark Liechty looks at the cultural practices of this new middle class, examining such phenomena as cinema and video viewing, popular music, film magazines, local fashion systems, and advertising. He explores three interactive and mutually constitutive ethnographic terrains: a burgeoning local consumer culture, a growing mass-mediated popular imagination, and a recently emerging youth culture. He shows how an array of local cultural narratives--stories of honor, value, prestige, and piety--flow in and around global narratives of "progress," modernity, and consumer fulfillment. Urban Nepalis simultaneously adopt and critique these narrative strands, braiding them into local middle-class cultural life.

Building on both Marxian and Weberian understandings of class, this study moves beyond them to describe the lived experience of "middle classness"--how class is actually produced and reproduced in everyday practice. It considers how people speak and act themselves into cultural existence, carving out real and conceptual spaces in which to produce class culture.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

PART I: INTRODUCTION

Chapter 1. Middle-Class Construction 3

Chapter 2. Modern Nepali History and the Rise of the Middle Class 39

PART II: CLASS AND CONSUMERISM

Chapter 3. Middle-Class Consciousness:"Hanging between the High and the Low" 61

Chapter 4. Consumer Culture in Kathmandu:"Playing with Your Brain" 87

Chapter 5. "Doing Fashion" in Kathmandu: Class and the Consumer Public 117

PART III: MEDIA CONSUMPTION IN KATHMANDU

Chapter 6. The Social Practice of Cinema and Video Viewing in Kathmandu 151

Chapter 7. Media Cultures: The Global in the Local 183

PART IV: YOUTH AND THE EXPERIENCE OF MODERNITY

Chapter 8. Constructing the Modern Youth 209

Chapter 9. Modernity, Time, and Place: Youth Culture in Kathmandu 232

PART V: CONCLUSION

Chapter 10. The Space of Class: Toward an Anthropology of Middle-Class Cultural Practice 249

Bibliography 267

Index 291

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691095936
Manufactured:
Princeton Publishing Company
Author:
Liechty, Mark
Manufactured by:
Princeton Publishing Company
Manufactured:
Princeton Publishing Company
Author:
Princeton Publishing Company
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J.
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Consumption (economics)
Subject:
Middle class
Subject:
Consumption
Subject:
Kathmandu
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
Anthropology
Subject:
Kathmandu (Nepal) - Social conditions
Subject:
Middle class - Nepal - Kathmandu
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
no. 87
Publication Date:
October 2002
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 maps. 10 halftones.
Pages:
312
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 16 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Asia » General
History and Social Science » Asia » Himalayan Region
History and Social Science » Law » General

Suitably Modern: Making Middle-Class Culture in a New Consumer Society New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$47.50 In Stock
Product details 312 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691095936 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "This penetrating study of consumption practices in Kathmandu captures the emergence of a new kind of class-based cultural experience, one in which media images and purchased goods increasingly serve as instruments of middle-class self-fashioning. As much a study of profound transformations in Nepali society as a whole as it is an analysis of the lived reality of an emergent bourgeois sensibility, Liechty's research offers important insights into the local cultural ramifications of contemporary forms of globalization."--Stacy Pigg, Simon Fraser University

"Providing a well-grounded and at times startling picture of the creation of class identity, Liechty's work succeeds admirably in its goals to document practices of urban middle-class life and the ways these practices produce a newly constituted class. This is a strong, stimulating, and needed contribution to the exciting nascent field of class theory and ethnography in anthropology."--Sara Dickey, Bowdoin College

"Synopsis" by , Suitably Modern traces the growth of a new middle class in Kathmandu as urban Nepalis harness the modern cultural resources of mass media and consumer goods to build modern identities and pioneer a new sociocultural space in one of the world's "least developed countries."

Since Nepal's "opening" in the 1950s, a new urban population of bureaucrats, service personnel, small business owners, and others have worked to make a space between Kathmandu's old (and still privileged) elites and its large (and growing) urban poor. Mark Liechty looks at the cultural practices of this new middle class, examining such phenomena as cinema and video viewing, popular music, film magazines, local fashion systems, and advertising. He explores three interactive and mutually constitutive ethnographic terrains: a burgeoning local consumer culture, a growing mass-mediated popular imagination, and a recently emerging youth culture. He shows how an array of local cultural narratives--stories of honor, value, prestige, and piety--flow in and around global narratives of "progress," modernity, and consumer fulfillment. Urban Nepalis simultaneously adopt and critique these narrative strands, braiding them into local middle-class cultural life.

Building on both Marxian and Weberian understandings of class, this study moves beyond them to describe the lived experience of "middle classness"--how class is actually produced and reproduced in everyday practice. It considers how people speak and act themselves into cultural existence, carving out real and conceptual spaces in which to produce class culture.

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