Materializing the Nation

Commodities, Consumption, and Media in Papua New Guinea

by Robert J. Foster

Published by: Indiana University Press

216 Pages, 6.12 x 9.25 in, 30 b&w photos, 1 index

  • Paperback
  • 9780253215499
  • Published: October 2002


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  • eBook
  • 9780253013613
  • Published: October 2002


"Foster shows us how seemingly banal activities like making a phone call, chewing betel nut, watching a Coke commercial may give important insights into the ways in which the nation is constructed, materialized or contested."—Orvar Löfgren, author of On Holiday: A History of Vacationing

Why, in the current era of globalization, does nationality remain an important dimension of personal and collective identities? In Materializing the Nation, Robert J. Foster argues that the contested process of nation making in Papua New Guinea unfolds not only through organized politics but also through mundane engagements with commodities and mass media. He offers a thoughtful critique of recent approaches to nationalism and consumption and an ethnographic perspective on constructs of the nation found in official policy documents, letters to the editor, school textbooks, song lyrics, advertisements, and other materials. This volume will appeal to readers interested in the links among nationalism, consumption, and media, in Melanesia and elsewhere.