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Technologies of resistance: Structural alteration of trade cloth in four societies

Christopher Burghard Steiner
Zeitschrift für Ethnologie
Bd. 119, H. 1 (1994), pp. 75-94
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25842347
Page Count: 20
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Technologies of resistance: Structural alteration of trade cloth in four societies
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Abstract

This article examines the transformation of trade cloth among the Seminole, Saramaka, Cuna, and Kalabari as examples of non-Western resistance to the dictates of Western regimes of clothing style and as calculated acts of defiance to a world system of fashion hegemony. Because of the unique circumstances of their histories, each of the four societies discussed in this essay has become wholly dependent upon cloth that must be imported from outside yet, at the same time, each society maintains their sense of cultural autonomy and fabricates their own "tradition" by transforming the cloth they receive in trade into garments that are unique expressions of their aesthetic independence and cultural sovereignty.

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