The market beyond nationalism: consumer culture and the textile market in early twentieth-century Tianjin

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department History
Author Yi, Yuan
Title The market beyond nationalism: consumer culture and the textile market in early twentieth-century Tianjin
Date 2012-08
Description This thesis examines how consumer culture took shape in the textile market of Tianjin under the conflicting ideas of nationalism and globalization in the early twentieth century. The study starts from an inquiry into the hybridization of the market. Through an analysis of sartorial advertisements, it shows that numerous forms of hybridity existed in the market and this often made it difficult to apply the binary Chinese and foreign rhetoric promoted by the National Products Movement. Product nationality was often ambiguously recognized, and this ambiguity was particularly noticeable in domestic products of foreign origin. This study pays special attention to the advertising of the Haijing Wool Factory in order to see how domestic companies manufacturing products of foreign origin positioned their products in the complex market. I note that the company positioned its woolen fabrics not as a substitute for the imported woolen fabrics, but as a substitute for the Chinese conventional materials, silk and cotton. In other words, in spite of its Chinese nationality, the company did not take full advantage of the National Products Movement. The advertisements instead put an emphasis on wool‟s superiority over silk and cotton in quality, through which the company repeatedly highlighted the importance of an "economical" and "hygienic" mode of consumption. This study argues that the rhetoric of superior wool versus inferior silk and cotton became possible because of the inherent foreignness of woolen products. According to government standards, the Haijing woolen products were classified as national products. However, wool‟s foreign origin would have obviously affected consumers‟ perception of product nationality in a different way. Indeed, the hybrid nature of domestically produced woolen products made it difficult to clearly define their product nationality. Between these conflicting identities assigned to them, what the company decided to take for its advertising was the foreignness. The Haijing Wool Factory strategically used the products‟ foreign components in terms of origin, technology, and design, and its woolen textiles were successfully positioned as a superior substitute for deficient silk and cotton. In this consumer discourse, the national product sentiment promoted by the National Products Movement was almost absent.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Textile industry; Consumer behavior
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Master of Arts
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Yuan Yi 2012
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 870,770 bytes
Identifier us-etd3/id/1118
Source Original in Marriott Library Special Collections, HD30.5 2012 .Y5
ARK ark:/87278/s6qv428k
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2012-07-02
Date Modified 2018-04-26
ID 194952
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6qv428k