Article Title

Sneakers and street culture: A postcolonial analysis of marginalized cultural consumption


It would be valuable to consumer research to increase understanding of marginalized communities and their consumption experiences. This paper advances postcolonial analysis as useful in this respect. A review of postcolonialism shows a perspective that encompasses the experience of the subordinated and marginalized. Hybridity, an alternative version, the self/other divide and power of both the colonizing and colonized positions are key concepts in this lens. Shifting from the dominating view of imperialism, a postcolonial oeuvre offers a nuanced stance that gives voice to the history of the Other and recognition to their stories. Variations within this stream of theory are drawn out and the key aim of this paper is to explicate the value of the postcolonial view to consumer research. To this end two illustrative case studies of postcolonial African experience are offered: one French and one American. Sneaker consumption in African‐American street culture traces themes of social alienation, self‐identity, criminality and fanatical consumption through the acquisition of sneakers. This experience is contrasted with the experience of postcolonial African communities in France who use other forms of consumption to define their street identity. We conclude that a more nuanced reading of sneaker consumption is available through postcolonialism shedding new light on interpreting symbolic consumption, meaning making and identity expression in traditionally marginalized groups.



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