Critical Fetishism and Coke®

Robert Foster, University of Rochester
In November 2007, the journal Cultural Anthropology published “The Coke Complex,” a cluster of articles that examine the political economy and political ecology of globalization through the lens of The Coca-Cola Company and its products. I have written a brief essay on critical fetishism for Anthropology Newsletter that suggests how to use “The Coke Complex” to prompt classroom discussion and to guide research projects that ground an iconic global commodity in the local conditions of its production and consumption. Both “The Coke Complex” and my teaching advice are available online through AnthroSource and, for non-subscribers, at the following sites: and

Editors comment
The above modest contribution was sent in to the blog by Robert Foster. I say modest in a rather literal sense, in that he fails to mention that he also has a wonderful new book out called Coca-Globalization with Palgrave/Macmillan. To quote my endorsement on the back. `This is a profound scholarly study, that doggedly tracks down and records in detail the way Coca-Cola inhabits our world today. Foster’s riveting presentation and analysis of Coca-Cola in New Guinea, is matched by his sensitivity to global issues of value, shareholder activism and the environment. A firm foundation for a genuinely informed politics of consumption’. Blurbs have to be brief, but I hope it says succinctly why I would so strongly recommend the work. Its not particular a commodity chain analysis, though that is also a form I very much like, as a work that constantly pitches production and consumption in relation to each other. Of particular interest in that the consumers are mainly from New Guinea. It is a book that clearly wears its critical heart on its sleeve. There is a good deal about activism and the reasons and concerns behind that activism. But this is couched in evident scholarship and a concern to present as broad and round a picture as possible. So yes there is the journal, but also go read the book…
– Danny Miller, University College London

Leave a Reply