Patterns of Middle Class Consumption in India and China by Christophe Jaffrelot

Patterns of Middle Class Consumption in India and China

Christophe Jaffrelot and Peter van der Veer
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Deals with the patterns of consumption among the middle classes of India and China. This book compares cultural shifts as a result of liberalization and globalization in these two Asian powers. It also covers transnational developments, like tourism, karaoke, soap operas, and the art market.

Publisher Description

Patterns of Middle Class Consumption in India and China explores the complex history and sociology of the middle class from a comparative perspective. It has papers written by sociologists, anthropologists and political scientists rather than economists, so the emphasis is on cultural shifts rather than economic statistics.The major contribution of this volume is that these two emerging powers of Asia are not, as is usual, compared to the West, but with each other. Considering that these two societies have so much in common in scale, civilization history and as emerging economies, the book is timely. The focus of the book is on the social and political implications of the new consumption patterns among the middle classes of India and China in the context of economic growth, liberalization of markets and globalization. Reflecting upon and critically engaging with the traditional sociological notions on which definitions of the middle class have been based, the book analyzes the intermingling of these notions with new attitudes in the wake of the consumer revolution.
More specifically, an entire gamut of aspects of the consumer culture have been explored-tourism, leisure activities and the entertainment industry (art, Karaoke and soap operas)—as well as the consumption of experiences through these. It is argued that these phenomena have particular Indian and Chinese incarnations, which need to be analyzed in a manner that does not privilege a limited western experience of globalization. With its fresh insights and perspectives, the book will appeal to students of anthropology, sociology, political science, media studies and cultural studies. It will also be useful for market research professionals.

Review
The editor and the authors have done a commendable job for achieving their objective to a large extent. In its reader friendly style of communication and construction of argument the book strongly puts forward the central theme. It is a useful addition of literature on consumerism and consumption pattern especially in the context of the middle class; a section whose purchasing power and decision making process is increasingly guided by globalisation phenomena. It will be useful for academicians and practitioners who could derive learning based on the discussion on real life cases and practical understanding. Learners and researchers of sociology and the social sciences could draw benefits from this book as well. — The Journal of Entrepreneurship The book provides a mine of information on state and society in the two countries and should be essential reading for all engaged with varied reflections on contemporary urban society. — The Statesman The book explores the sociology of the middle class in both India and China from a comparative perspective. It analyses the intermingling of the traditional sociological notions with new attitudes in the wake of the consumer revolution. — Indian Management It puts together a comparative study that focuses specifically on the middle class, a section of society that plays a pivotal role in the social, economic, political and global transformations that both these countries are going through. An important contribution to the analysis of a pivotal class in India and China, this work will also prove to be a useful reference volume in trying to understand what is common to and what differentiates both these countries. — Business Standard With its fresh insights and perspectives, the book will appeal to the students of anthropology, sociology, political science, media studies and cultural studies. It will also be useful for market research professionals. — Free Press Journal A nuanced and insightful look into a category of consumers that determine the future of societies anywhere in the world, it is an invaluable read. — Indian Management This book must be credited for critiquing the empirical construction of the middle class and locating it in the consciousness of the post-capitalist man through dialogues with signs, symbols and icons. — Businessworld The volume analyses the specificities of middle class in India and China, seeking to explain the extent to which it follows a similar route in both countries...an interesting read. — Business India

Author Biography

Christophe Jaffrelot is Director CERI (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales) at Sciences Po (Paris) and Research Director at the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique). He teaches South Asian politics to doctoral students at Sciences Po. He has written extensively on political and regional issues of South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan. His most recent publications include India's Silent Revolution: The Rise of Low Castes in North India (2002) and Dr Ambedkar and Untouchability: Analysing and Fighting Caste (2004). His current research interests include theories of nationalism and democracy; the rise of lower castes and untouchables in north Indian politics; and ethnic conflicts in Pakistan. Peter van der Veer is University Professor at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He is also Chairman of the International Institute for Asian Studies and member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research area is religion and nationalism in Asia and Europe and in 2001 he received the Hendrik Muller Award for his contribution to social science research on religion. His major works include God on Earth (1988), Religious Nationalism (1994) and Imperial Encounters (2001).

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Patterns of Middle Class Consumption in India and China

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