Cloth: 978-0-226-57519-3 | Paper: 978-0-226-57520-9 | Electronic: 978-0-226-57521-6
AVAILABLE FROMUniversity of Chicago Press (cloth, paper, ebook)
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ProQuest (formerly ebrary and EBL)
ABOUT THIS BOOK
In Côte d’Ivoire, appearing modern is so important for success that many young men deplete their already meager resources to project an illusion of wealth in a fantastic display of Western imitation, spending far more than they can afford on brand name clothing, accessories, technology, and a robust nightlife. Such imitation, however, is not primarily meant to deceive—rather, as Sasha Newell argues in The Modernity Bluff, it is an explicit performance so valued in Côte d’Ivoire it has become a matter of national pride.
Called bluffeurs, these young urban men operate in a system of cultural economy where reputation is essential for financial success. That reputation is measured by familiarity with and access to the fashionable and expensive, which leads to a paradoxical state of affairs in which the wasting of wealth is essential to its accumulation. Using the consumption of Western goods to express their cultural mastery over Western taste, Newell argues, bluffeurs engage a global hierarchy that is profoundly modern, one that values performance over authenticity—highlighting the counterfeit nature of modernity itself.
Sasha Newell is assistant professor of anthropology at North Carolina State University.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
One / Enregistering Modernity, Bluffing Criminality: How Nouchi Speech Reinvented the Nation
Two / Bizness and “Blood Brothers”: The Moral Economy of Crime
Three/ Faire le show: Masculinity and the Performative Success of Waste
Four / Fashioning Alterity: Masking, Metonymy, and Otherworld Origins
Five / Paris Is Hard like a Rock: Migration and the Spatial Hierarchy of Global Relations
Six / Counterfeit Belongings: Branding the Ivoirian Political Crisis
Conclusion / Modernity as Bluff