Clarity, Cut, and Culture: The Many Meanings of Diamonds by Susan Falls

By Susan Falls

Images of diamonds look in all places in American tradition. and everybody who has a diamond has a narrative to inform approximately it. Our tales approximately diamonds not just show what we do with those tiny stones, but additionally recommend how we create worth, which means, and id via our interactions with fabric tradition in general.

Things develop into significant via our interactions with them, yet how do humans pass approximately making which means? What will we examine from an ethnography in regards to the construction of identification, construction of kinship, and use of diamonds in figuring out selves and social relationships? via what potential do humans situated inside of a globalized political-economy and a compelling universe of ads have interaction in the neighborhood with those tiny polished rocks?

This e-book attracts on yr of fieldwork with diamond shoppers in long island urban in addition to an research of the long-lasting De Beers crusade that promised romance, prestige, and glamour to a person who received a diamond to teach that this thematic pool is only one source between many who diamond proprietors draw upon to have interaction with their very own stones. the amount highlights the real roles that reminiscence, context, and condition additionally play in shaping how humans interpret after which use gadgets in making own worlds. It exhibits that along with working as matters in an ad-burdened universe, shoppers are hugely artistic, idiosyncratic, and theatrical agents.

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6 And the De Beers campaign has been extraordinarily magical. Most adults I talked with knew the taglines and frequently remarked upon the scarcity and status value of diamonds promoted by ads. But the degree to which consumers are more deeply ensnared is less obvious. Their stories contained overt claims of sovereignty and resistance, and showed people as independent, calculating, self-actualized agents of their own destiny, even though they are, without question, operating within a social universe fraught with marketing, most of which asserts class consciousness as part of a brand identity.

Shelves of scholarly and popular literature covering social, political, and economic facets of the industry (Bergenstock and Maskulka 2001; Du Plessis 1960; Carstens 2001; De Boeck 1998; Dickinson 1965; Harlow et al. 1998; Kanfer 1993; Worger 1987) provided additional variables. My data was gathered not as an experimental sample to enumerate frequencies but as a pool of narratives analyzed to yield conclusions about the semiosis of material culture. I immediately recognized a bent toward idiosyncrasy, performance, and creativity, and worked to determine how these elements might be explained by means of existing paradigms.

Brand consumption constructs and communicates identity according to characteristics such as generation, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, or race. Commodities express purported membership in identity categories both to known and to unknown others, but few ethnographic studies focus on the subjective aspect of this experience (see Halle 1996 as an excellent exception). Most work in this vein tracks meaning from the top down. Robert Foster (1999), an anthropologist who explores how marketing draws on nationalism, closely reads Coke, Pepsi, and Shell gasoline ads in Papua, New Guinea, and argues that insofar as consuming these products is an everyday experience, consumption is inserted into a “micropolitics of belonging” (263).

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