Consumerism in the Ancient World: Imports and Identity Construction

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-12-07
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Study of long-distance trade in Greek pottery traces its intellectual roots back to twentieth-century investigations of Greek colonization. Scholarship until 1980 tended to treat colonial interactions as a straightforward and one-way transmission of Greek culture to indigenous groups. In this model, called 'Hellenization,' indigenous groups adopted Greek goods and sought to emulate the colonizers' behaviours. No indigenous group immediately abandoned all of their previous traditions to adopt Greek behaviours and culture completely, however, and archaeologists began to realize that indigenous groups had adopted only those Greek goods that were useful to their purposes.This book has three primary aims: to identify evidence for expressions of preference by consumers in the material culture of the ancient world; to show communicative links between consumers and producers; and to demonstrate how the consumption of imported goods was (and is) reflexively linked to the construction of individual and group identities. It creates a new and holistic model that explains the mechanisms associated with economic exchange and cultural meaning in the classical world. This study is the first to combine archaeological theory concerning the consumption of imported goods, economic understandings of purchase and exchange, and sociological approaches to the construction of individual and group identities.

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