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Suitably Modern : Making Middle-Class Culture in a New Consumer Society - Mark Liechty

Suitably Modern

Making Middle-Class Culture in a New Consumer Society

Paperback Published: 17th November 2002
ISBN: 9780691095936
Number Of Pages: 312

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"Suitably Modern" traces the growth of a new middle class in Kathmandu as urban Nepalis harness the modern cultural resources of mass media and consumer goods to build modern identities and pioneer a new sociocultural space in one of the world's "least developed countries."

Since Nepal's "opening" in the 1950s, a new urban population of bureaucrats, service personnel, small business owners, and others have worked to make a space between Kathmandu's old (and still privileged) elites and its large (and growing) urban poor. Mark Liechty looks at the cultural practices of this new middle class, examining such phenomena as cinema and video viewing, popular music, film magazines, local fashion systems, and advertising. He explores three interactive and mutually constitutive ethnographic terrains: a burgeoning local consumer culture, a growing mass-mediated popular imagination, and a recently emerging youth culture. He shows how an array of local cultural narratives--stories of honor, value, prestige, and piety--flow in and around global narratives of "progress," modernity, and consumer fulfillment. Urban Nepalis simultaneously adopt and critique these narrative strands, braiding them into local middle-class cultural life.

Building on both Marxian and Weberian understandings of class, this study moves beyond them to describe the lived experience of "middle classness"--how class is actually produced and reproduced in everyday practice. It considers how people speak and act themselves into cultural existence, carving out real and conceptual spaces in which to produce class culture.

"This important and clearly written book should be read by anyone interested in understanding how people in the periphery of the capitalist world economy are experiencing the processes of globalization."--Susan Hangen, Journal of Asian Business "Liechty offers an inspiring cultural analysis of modern life in Nepal that is deeply rooted in history. He thereby connects this seemingly out-of-the-way place to the rest of the world. More generally, Suitably Modern provides a theoretically subtle depiction of middle-class cultural practice that promises to be read by a wide range of scholars interested in class and global capitalism for some time in the future."--Laura Kunreuther, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Middle-Class Constructionp. 3
Modern Nepali History and the Rise of the Middle Classp. 39
Class and Consumerism
Middle-Class Consciousness:"Hanging between the High and the Low"p. 61
Consumer Culture in Kathmandu:"Playing with Your Brain"p. 87
"Doing Fashion" in Kathmandu: Class and the Consumer Publicp. 117
Media Consumption in Kathmandu
The Social Practice of Cinema and Video Viewing in Kathmandup. 151
Media Cultures: The Global in the Localp. 183
Youth and the Experience of Modernity
Constructing the Modern Youthp. 209
Modernity, Time, and Place: Youth Culture in Kathmandup. 232
The Space of Class: Toward an Anthropology of Middle-Class Cultural Practicep. 249
Bibliographyp. 267
Indexp. 291
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691095936
ISBN-10: 0691095930
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 17th November 2002
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.32 x 15.65  x 1.96
Weight (kg): 0.44
Edition Number: 3