Consumption, Entanglement, and Colonialism

Michael Dietler

in Archaeologies of Colonialism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780520265516
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947948 | DOI:
Consumption, Entanglement, and Colonialism

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People use alien contacts and goods for their own strategic political agendas and they give new meanings to borrowed cultural elements. Foreign objects are of interest not for what they represent in the society of origin but for their perceived use and meaning in the context of consumption. Hence, the colonial encounter must be very locally contextualized in the intersection of the different social and cultural logics of interaction of the specific parties involved. This is the level at which agency is potentially discernible in the archaeological analysis of colonialism, and at which its operation is historically crucial. This chapter explores why indigenous peoples of Iron Age Mediterranean France, especially in the early phases of the encounter, would have had any interest at all in Etruscan and Massalian goods or practices. To what social conditions and opportunities and to what cultural values and dispositions was the consumption of alien goods a response? This chapter first discusses the interrelationships among consumption, material culture, and colonialism. It then looks at the logic of demand, indifference, and rejection.

Keywords: Mediterranean France; alien goods; alien contacts; colonialism; consumption; colonial encounter; agency; material culture; demand; rejection

Chapter.  9660 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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