Download Clarity, Cut, and Culture: The Many Meanings of Diamonds by Susan Falls PDF

By Susan Falls

Images of diamonds look in every single place in American tradition. and everybody who has a diamond has a narrative to inform approximately it. Our tales approximately diamonds not just show what we do with those tiny stones, but in addition recommend how we create worth, that means, and identification via our interactions with fabric tradition in general.

Things develop into significant via our interactions with them, yet how do humans cross approximately making that means? What will we study from an ethnography concerning the creation of identification, production of kinship, and use of diamonds in realizing selves and social relationships? by means of what skill do humans located inside a globalized political-economy and a compelling universe of advertisements engage in the community with those tiny polished rocks?

This publication attracts on year of fieldwork with diamond shoppers in manhattan urban in addition to an research of the enduring De Beers crusade that promised romance, prestige, and glamour to an individual who received a diamond to teach that this thematic pool is only one source between many who diamond proprietors draw upon to interact with their very own stones. the amount highlights the real roles that reminiscence, context, and situation additionally play in shaping how humans interpret after which use gadgets in making own worlds. It indicates that along with working as matters in an ad-burdened universe, shoppers are hugely artistic, idiosyncratic, and theatrical agents.

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David Graeber, in Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams (2001), for example, combines theoretical innovations by Marcel — 27 28 — From Rock to Gem Mauss and Roy Bhaskar to argue for value as a form of creative action. Contributors to Fred Meyers’s (2002) edited volume, Empire of Things: Regimes of Value and Material Culture, challenge the implications of Annette Weiner’s (1992) theory of inalienability within a capitalist context, utilizing Arjun Appadurai’s demonstration that objects take on different meanings as they move through different cultural contexts (Appadurai 1986).

The personal name “Diamond,” means “precious” or “valuable,” and reflects how symbolic meanings advanced in marketing campaigns can be transferred through naming onto a person, in a kind of sympathetic magic. So the term “diamond” suggests glamour, sex, romance, and wealth to one person; greed, conventionality, suburbanism, and pretention to another. How are these various ideas generated and maintained? How can disparate sources of meaning—history, memory, poetry, metaphor, formal (even geological) characteristics, and production chains, in addition to marketing discourse—be contained under a single rubric?

So the term “diamond” suggests glamour, sex, romance, and wealth to one person; greed, conventionality, suburbanism, and pretention to another. How are these various ideas generated and maintained? How can disparate sources of meaning—history, memory, poetry, metaphor, formal (even geological) characteristics, and production chains, in addition to marketing discourse—be contained under a single rubric? How do these stones act as prisms through which we see ourselves? Since consumption is an important cultural activity, understanding how experience is mediated by mass-produced, mass-marketed, and mass-consumed material culture in the context of advanced capitalism has become a priority in social theory (see Appadurai 1986; Journal of Material Culture 1996; Miller 1995; Paterson 2005; Schor and Holt 2000; Howes 1996; McCracken 1990; Ritzer 1996), one approach is to think about diamonds alongside similar kinds of goods (though even as commodities, they do have some very special qualities).

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