7961 - Market and Consumption: Brazilian Cultures in Foreign Lands

The ever-more frenetic circulation of goods and people created by the intensification of globalization has given Brazil greater visibility in Europe. Here, I propose to reflect upon the characteristics that are attributed Brazil within this newly internationalized, transcultural context and, consequently, to Brazilians themselves. Understanding the relationships between consumption, market and culture in today’s societies (especially within large metropolitan areas) is fundamental to our comprehension of the multiple uses of brands – both of products themselves and of objects and people understood to be Brazilian within national and foreign contexts. In the widest sense possible, the market is an interface for practices of consuming establishing what possessions are owned by whom, but also underpinning lifestyles and ways of being. On the other hand, the massive flow of objects, products and people across borders and through markets over the last few decades has produced a cultural warp and weft which has itself been redimensioned, both at local and global levels, (re)making or diluting borders and geopolitical territories as well as their attached symbolisms. Within the field of culture, webs of significance and struggle involving gender and other difference markers have been interwoven with the market itself. The analysis which I employ here is centered on the commercialization of “havaianas” (Brazilian flip-flop sandals), looking at their commercialization and observing the first store set up for their direct sale in Europe, in Barcelona. The repetition of the notion of “tropical culture” (a resource often mobilized when speaking of Brazil) now also is extended to people and their behaviors, attitudes, gestures and supposed national modes of being. This development has fed racialized and sexualized understandings of Brazilians themselves.

Keywords: market, gender, sexuality, nationality, media

Author: Iara, BELELI (Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil / Brasilien)


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