Creating model consumers: Producing ethnicity, race, and class in Asian American advertising

Shalini Shankar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


How does Asian American advertising contribute to the construction of race and ethnicity in the contemporary United States? In this article, I consider how executives write advertising copy and create original artwork for Asian American advertisements in ways that index brand identities. I introduce the analytic of "metaproduction," a process of material and linguistic signification that uses metacultural and metalinguistic values to connect microlevel signification of language and culture with broader social meanings and values. Analysis of ethnographic data from New York City advertising agencies shows how racialization occurs through the transformation of Asian Americans from model minority producers into model minority consumers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-591
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Ethnologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012



  • Advertising
  • Asian American
  • Class
  • Ethnicity
  • Language
  • Media
  • Race
  • Semiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

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