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Reclaiming the ‘tribe’ from ‘consumer tribes’: Consumption, modernization and Kenya’s tribes

Lookup NU author(s): Gidraph Michuki, Professor Andrew Lindridge


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Our paper tackles a Western imbalance and misappropriation of the term ‘tribes’ being constituted around shared consumption, such as consumer tribes, by returning to and researching how traditional tribes in Kenya use consumption to support their tribal identities. This paper assesses the internalisation of tribal identities through habituated practices, exploring how consumption practices are used to conspicuously affirm consumers imagined tribal identities. We reject the terms consumer tribes and traditional tribes as reflective of wider colonial narratives and inappropriate for a modernising society. Instead, we argue in Kenya, tribes are under-going a process of modernity manifesting through ‘felt-tribalism.’

Publication metadata

Author(s): Michuki G, Lindridge AM, Simoes C, Abohalasani M

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Consumer Culture Theory Conference 2019

Year of Conference: 2019

Online publication date: 17/07/2019

Acceptance date: 24/05/2019