Consumerism in the Ancient Mediterranean
Imports and Identity Construction
By Justin Walsh
To Be Published December 1st 2013 by Routledge – 272 pages
Study of long-distance trade in Greek pottery traces its intellectual roots back to twentieth-century investigations of Greek colonization. Scholarship until 1980 tended to treat colonial interactions as a straightforward and one-way transmission of Greek culture to indigenous groups. In this model, called ‘Hellenization,’ indigenous groups adopted Greek goods and sought to emulate the colonizers’ behaviours. No indigenous group immediately abandoned all of their previous traditions to adopt Greek behaviours and culture completely, however, and archaeologists began to realize that indigenous groups had adopted only those Greek goods that were useful to their purposes.
This book has three primary aims: to identify evidence for expressions of preference by consumers in the material culture of the ancient world; to show communicative links between consumers and producers; and to demonstrate how the consumption of imported goods was (and is) reflexively linked to the construction of individual and group identities. It creates a new and holistic model that explains the mechanisms associated with economic exchange and cultural meaning in the classical world. This study is the first to combine archaeological theory concerning the consumption of imported goods, economic understandings of purchase and exchange, and sociological approaches to the construction of individual and group identities.
@contents:Part I: Introduction 1. Importation of Greek Pottery 2. Wide Variety of Importing Cultures – Different Distribution Patterns 3. "Shopping as Meaningful Action" 4. Imports and Identity Part II: Methodology 5. Intellectual History of Intercultural Contact Studies 6. Consumption/ Culturally Conditioned Perceptions 7. Other Archaeological Approaches 8. Selection and Agency 9. Economic Consumption 10. Sociological Study of Identity and Consumption Part III: Modeling Distribution of Greek Imports around the Mediterranean 11. Greek Colonies 12. Indigenous Sites Part IV: The Role of Imports: Preference and Meaning 13. Greek Colonies 14. Indigenous Sites Part V: Conclusion 15. Linkages between Economic Behavior and Identity Construction 16. Evidence 17. Conclusion
Justin St. P. Walsh is Assistant Professor of Greek and Roman art and archaeology in the department of Art History at Louisiana State University. He is currently researching imported pottery found at the site of Morgantina, and the implications of that material for a new consumer-oriented perspective on the ancient economy, the results of which will be published in Morgantina Studies (Princeton University Press). Professor Walsh has received several awards, including the Fulbright in 2002.