Cultural authenticity and the market

Images: cover illustration from Anthony Appiah, In My Father's House; Chinese neolithic pot c. 1500 BC People often return from their travels with objects they've purchased to represent the culture and traditions of the place they've visited -- Alsatian pottery from Betschdorf, masks from Kenya, or Navajo pots from Arizona. And sometimes they purchase such …

Creativity, convention, and tradition

images: Picasso, Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1906); Courbet, Burial at Ornans (1849) Conventions define how to do things correctly -- trim the hedges, choose an outfit for an evening at the opera or the racetrack, how much to tip the server. They also define or constrain productions in the arts -- writing a short story …

"Moral economy" as a historical social concept

The concept of a "moral economy" has proved useful in attempting to describe and explain the contentious behavior of peasants in response to onerous social relations. Essentially, it is the idea that peasant communities share a set of normative attitudes concerning the social relations and social behaviors that surround the local economy: the availability of …

Micro cultures?

Is there such a thing as a "micro"-culture -- a culture that is somewhat distinctive of a particular community in a specific time and place, and different from the culture of similar communities in other places?The sorts of communities I'm thinking of might include sports teams, university faculties, union locals, church congregations, street gangs, or …

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