A Transcultural Study of the Acculturation of Consumer Goods, 1918-1933

Travelling Goods

The research project employs methodologies developed in the realm of literary and cultural studies for the analysis of transcultural/transnational economic processes. By comparing the acculturation of foreign goods in different cultures, a universal, purely rationalistic economic theory of supply and demand will be supplemented by an analysis that is sensitive to the construction of meaning, value, and desirability in differing cultural environments.

Key questions to be answered by the study are: why, how, and by whom were consumer products brought to a foreign country? What images were created for theses products? Why did they appeal to the ‘natives’? Which cultural stereotypes were employed and constructed in this process? In order to answer these questions, the overall study includes four case studies – conducted by four researchers – analysing the historically specific acculturation of consumer goods in four different environments. A later, concluding study will compare the findings of the case studies and integrate them into a theory of acculturation of consumer goods.

1) HAMBURG    >> English Books (group leader)
2) NEW YORK        >>  Chinese Food (PhD)
3) LONDON         >> German Cars (PhD)
>> Ford (postdoc)
5) COMPARISON & THEORY >>   postdoc (from 2011)

A detailed account of the theoretical and methodological background of the study can be found here.