Consuming Desires: Strategies of Selfhood and Appropriation

Peer Reviewed

Essay Excerpt

Congolese internalize what is outside of themselves in order to become more than what they are. Ainu externalize what is inside of themselves for consumption by others (hopefully not cannibals) in order to become what they are. Modern westerners appropriate what is outside of themselves in order to become what they are not. If we label the first strategy as holistic, the second as ethnic, and the third as individualist we might begin to gain an insight into the conditions of emergence of such strategies, but this lies beyond the scope of the present article (see Friedman 1990b). At any rate, we have not contented ourselves with a presentation of different structures of selfhood as they relate to strategies of identity. We have tried to suggest the kinds of relations that might connect social conditions, the formation of the person, and emergent strategies of consumption. We have proposed that consumption and even production are encompassed by super ordinate strategies of identification of self and world. (Friedman, 161) 

About the Author

Jonathan Friedman is a prominent American anthropologist. He earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1972. He is professor of Anthropology at University of California, San Diego and directeur d'études at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales as well as one of the main editors of the journal Anthropological Theory, currently published by SAGE Publications. Friedman has done most of his research in Hawaii and the Republic of Congo.

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