What 200 products can be made from a dead chicken?
What should turkey really taste like?
How can you make a ready-made meal appear less manufactured?
How do you market a “folk-pizza”?
This fascinating and entertaining book examines the strategies and struggles of the young professionals who are responsible for marketing a variety of ready-made food products for a major Norwegian food manufacturer. This setting provides the empirical focus for the analysis of the key tensions and contradictions which are to be found in modernity.
Through a detailed description of “everyday-life” in the marketing department, the book critically examines many of the features which are believed to characterise modernity, such as authenticity, ambivalence and the quest for order. The setting also allows the author to explore key economic terms such as “the market”, “product”, “brand” and “consumer”.
Drawing on comparative material, the author suggests that modernity may be characterized, not so much by an effort at making order, but rather by specific ways of dealing with ambivalence, and demonstrates that features generally associated with modernity may not be so modern after all.
'This is by far the most scholarly and informative study yet produced as to how marketing operates. It is a model of how to carry out ethnographic work inside commerce that one hopes will be much emulated by future ethnographers.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute '... this monograph by Marianne Lien is a welcome addition to the steadily increasing store of workplace ethnographies which have expanded the traditional bounds of anthropological enquiry.' Cambridge Anthropology A welcome addition to studies of marketing and conditions of modernity in a period of globalization.' Journal of Anthropological Research 'The author builds on Wilk's (1995) seminal ideas about the articulation of local difference within a global market economy to discuss how practical marketing decisions are made with regard to a range of non-local food products, turkey dinners, pizza, and prepared foods. Discussions of imagined cuisines, brands as totems, and the ironic dialectic between the authentic and the exotic produced by the globalization of food culture are delightful.' Sociocultural Anthropology 'Lien's study is undoubtedly important, well developed and a useful interdisciplinary project. Moreover, it fulfills all its aims and is written in a convincing and engaging style.' Social Anthropology 'Lien's analysis is grounded in an excellent ethnographic study and explores the cultural configurations of modernity through a focus on the everyday practices of modern men and women' Social Anthropology 'Signifies the potential of anthropologically inormed approaches to consumer research.' Social Anthropology 'Lien's descriptions are not just intriguing, they are also thorough and provocative...More fundamentally, perhaps, the topic of the marketing of factory-made food is a point of entry into an array of cultural issues that are important in the West, from those of purity (and of danger) to those of how we represent ourselves and the others against whom that representation is cast. We are indebted to Lien for investigating this topic in such an accessible and provocative way.' Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford (JASO)