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Bathing in the Far Village: Globalization, Transnational Capital, and the Cultural Politics of Modernity in China

Bathing in the Far Village: Globalization, Transnational Capital, and the Cultural Politics of... 0 1999by Duke University Press. Fall 1999 Figure 1 Far Village batik bathrobe hanging in a Seattle clothing boutique. T h e labor of women villagers in Guizhou was being sold in Seattle under the label of Far Village, a small company established in 1993 by a Los Angeles designer. As the bathrobe’s tag-on rough handcrafted paper- sought to make clear, the purpose of Far Village was to promote and protect the art and craft skills of “ancient cultures” such as Guizhou’s Mia0 people. More than this, Far Village claimed that it promoted the empowerment of Mia0 peasant women, the actual producers of its clothing. As the tag made explicit, the consumer was purchasing much more than just a bathrobe; indeed, the item itself was almost secondary to the concept being sold: the possibility of organic cultural continuity in the modern world and-as an added bonus- the modern emancipation of village women as well. T h e Far Village project promoted a multicultural politics of consumption that has become a hallmark of advanced capitalism in the neoliberal West, a “politics” constituted less by the production of difference than by its circulation according to the needs of flexible accumulation http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

Bathing in the Far Village: Globalization, Transnational Capital, and the Cultural Politics of Modernity in China

positions asia critique , Volume 7 (2) – Sep 1, 1999

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 1999 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-7-2-307
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

0 1999by Duke University Press. Fall 1999 Figure 1 Far Village batik bathrobe hanging in a Seattle clothing boutique. T h e labor of women villagers in Guizhou was being sold in Seattle under the label of Far Village, a small company established in 1993 by a Los Angeles designer. As the bathrobe’s tag-on rough handcrafted paper- sought to make clear, the purpose of Far Village was to promote and protect the art and craft skills of “ancient cultures” such as Guizhou’s Mia0 people. More than this, Far Village claimed that it promoted the empowerment of Mia0 peasant women, the actual producers of its clothing. As the tag made explicit, the consumer was purchasing much more than just a bathrobe; indeed, the item itself was almost secondary to the concept being sold: the possibility of organic cultural continuity in the modern world and-as an added bonus- the modern emancipation of village women as well. T h e Far Village project promoted a multicultural politics of consumption that has become a hallmark of advanced capitalism in the neoliberal West, a “politics” constituted less by the production of difference than by its circulation according to the needs of flexible accumulation

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 1999

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