Benjamin in China, or the Silk Market Project: On the Changing Nature of the Commodity

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Abstract

The nature of the commodity is changing in the face of the digitalization and financialization of capital and wealth. Using a counterfeit Louis Vuitton bag from Beijing’s Silk Road Market as a metaphor for the commodity in general, this paper applies theoretical insights from Walter Benjamin, Guy Debord, Jean Baudrillard, and others, to explore the role of perception and representation in new modes of value ascription. I also examine commodification in contemporary capitalism as an object-sign process, concluding with a brief discussion of the ways the “counterfeit” metaphor connects to other economic processes and theories.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSemiotica
Issue number205
Pages (from-to)17-35
Number of pages19
ISSN0037-1998
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Commodity
  • Commodification
  • Contemporary capitalism
  • Benjamin
  • China
  • Counterfeits

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