Conspicuous Consumption in Africa

Conspicuous Consumption in Africa

by Ilana van Wyk and Deborah Posel

Published by: Wits University Press

304 pages, 152.40 x 228.60 mm, 12 black and white illustrations

  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781776143641
  • Published: May 2019

$35.00

BUY
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9781776144662
  • Published: May 2019

$99.00

BUY

From early department stores in Cape Town to gendered histories of sartorial success in urban Togo, contestations over expense accounts at an apartheid state enterprise, elite wealth and political corruption in Angola and Zambia, the role of popular religion in the political intransigence of Jacob Zuma, funerals of big men in Cameroon, youth cultures of consumption in Niger and South Africa, queer consumption in Cape Town, middle-class food consumption in Durban and the consumption of luxury handcrafted beads, this collection of essays explores the ways in which conspicuous consumption is foregrounded in various African contexts and historical moments.

The essays in Conspicuous Consumption in Africa put Thorstein Veblen’s concept under robust critical scrutiny, delving into the pleasures, stresses and challenges of consuming in its religious, generational, gendered and racialised aspects, revealing conspicuous consumption as a layered set of practices, textures and relations. This volume shows how central and revealing conspicuous consumption can be to fathoming the history of Africa’s projects of modernity, and their global lineages and legacies. In its grounded, up-close case studies, it is likely to feed into current public debates on the nature and future of African societies – South African society in particular.

X