Drawing on preliminary field research in Zambia in 1992 and 1993 into the rapidly expanding trade in and consumption of used clothing imported from the West, this paper examines some methodological questions that arise from research-in-progress into the changing local appropriations of used clothing in Zambia. Because the processes that converge in this topic are not tied to any fixed locale, but call for contextualization in both politicoeconomic and local cultural terms, the shape of this research project is influenced by broader political changes in the region and beyond it as well as by paradigmatic shifts in accounts of local-global relationships. Granting used clothing a history in which what becomes of it does not inhere in its commodity status as a western cast-off, but is a result of what people have made with it and of it, investing and divesting it of meanings, this paper explores how used clothing assumes meanings as it becomes embedded in a variety of contexts, particularly in the capital city of Lusaka.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science