Global Perspectives on Changing Secondhand Economies
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Providing interdisciplinary and global perspectives, this book examines historical and contemporary changes in secondhand economies including the emergence of and specialization of secondhand venues, the materials involved as well as the cultural significance of secondhand things and the professions associated with them.
The objects in focus range from used clothing, scrap and waste materials, to antiquities and used cars, thrift stores and circular economies. Growing concerns with sustainability in the West have helped bring about the ‘rediscovery’ of practices of clothing re-use, re-purposing and re-cycling at the same time as major high-street retailers are establishing programs to return used clothing to their stores for re-sale or recycling. As the contributions to this edited volume demonstrate, recent concerns with the fast pace and adverse effects of global commodity flows have increased the scholarly attention to secondhand economies both in terms of their history and their significance for livelihoods and sustainability.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal, Business History.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Changing Secondhand Economies
Karen Tranberg Hansen and Jennifer Le Zotte
1. Domestic textiles and country house sales in Georgian England
2. ‘Fence-ing lessons’: child junkers and the commodification of scrap in the long nineteenth century
Wendy A. Woloson
3. Jews, second-hand trade and upward economic mobility: Introducing the ready-to-wear business in industrializing Helsinki, 1880–1930
Laura Katarina Ekholm
4. Shylocks to superheroes: Jewish scrap dealers in Anglo-American popular culture
Jonathan Z. S. Pollack
5. The mass consumption of refashioned clothes: Re-dyed kimono in post war Japan
6. The work of shopping: Resellers and the informal economy at the goodwill bins
7. Valuation in action: Ethnography of an American thrift store
8. History as business: Changing dynamics of retailing in Gothenburg’s second-hand market
9. Second-hand vehicle markets in West Africa: A source of regional disintegration, trade informality and welfare losses
Abel Ezeoha, Chinwe Okoyeuzu, Emmanuel Onah and Chibuike Uche
10. Urban prototypes: Growing local circular cloth economies
Karen Tranberg Hansen is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Northwestern University. Her publications include Distant Companions: Servants and Employers in Zambia, 1900-1985 (1989), African Encounters with Domesticity (1992), Keeping House in Lusaka (1997), Salaula: The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia (2000).
Jennifer Le Zotte is Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, specializing in gender, race, capitalism, and material culture, especially dress. Her publications include From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies (2017).