Monday, February 23, 2009

Participation and active consumption

Today this wonderful visual ethnography book arrived from Hong Kong, along with a beautiful card (thank you so much, Alice). It all played in so well with the James Farrer article that I mentioned in Friday's post, because the bar staff in Eric Ma and Ducky's work are using a public space to perform versions of a modern Chinese identity that recontextualise a global practice. The same happens in Farrer's account of the disco culture of Shanghai and elsehwere. Farrer's account is subtle in that it shows the stratification and differential participation that arises in the marketisation of China. There's also an interesting critique of Appadurai's notion of flows. Farrer argues that the metaphor implies that there are no obstacles or boundaries, whereas the disco work shows there are. What an interesting diversion!

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