Andrew Gordon

in Fabricating Consumers

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267855
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950313 | DOI:

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This book explores the spread of the sewing machine into and throughout Japan. The sewing machine was so caught up in the development of capitalism worldwide that two of the most important critics of the modern condition wrote passionately about its place as an emblem of a new world. This book, through study of the selling, buying, and use of the sewing machine in Japan of the early-to-mid-twentieth century, presents globalization as a “localizing process,” while recognizing its flattening power in many respects. It is believed that the sewing machine played a role in shaping the modern world. Some of the chapters in this book consider the question of class by examining the varied users of sewing machines, ranging from women engaged in homework for brokers or dressmaking for neighbors to those sewing “smart” outfits for their children.

Keywords: sewing machine; Japan; capitalism; globalization; women; homework

Chapter.  3720 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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