Journal Article: 'Post-Colonial Consumer Respect and the Framing of Neocolonial Consumption in Advertising' - Prof. Hari Sreekumar


Prof Hari Sreekumar


Authors’ Names: Rohit Varman, Russell W Belk, Hari Sreekumar

Abstract: This study of the production, representation, and reception of post-colonial advertising in India reveals a politics of consumer respectability. The post-colonial politics of consumer respectability is located at the intersection of center–periphery relations, class divisions, and colorism in a way that it frames neocolonial consumption. Advertisers depict middle-class consumer respectability by asserting Indian nationalism and by degrading the West as a symbol of colonialism. Such depictions are class- and color-based and show under-class and dark-skinned consumers in subordinate positions. Furthering such neocolonial frames of consumption, Indian advertising advances the middle-class desire for Eurocentric modernity by reinforcing the colonial trope of India as temporally lagging behind the West. Finally, middle-class consumer respectability involves a neocolonial whitening of self with epidermalized shaping of inter-corporeality and agency. In uncovering the theoretical implications of advertising as a site of avenging degradation, desiring modernity, and whitening of self, this study contributes by offering insights into how the politics of post-colonial consumer respectability furthers neocolonial frames of consumption.

Journal Name: Journal of Consumer Research