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Darren Dahl (Editor in Chief)Eileen FischerGita JoharVicki Morwitz

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Can Consumers Escape the Market? Emancipatory Illuminations from Burning Man

Robert V. Kozinets
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/339919 20-38 First published online: 1 June 2002

Abstract

This ethnography explores the emancipatory dynamics of the Burning Man project, a one-week-long antimarket event. Practices used at Burning Man to distance consumers from the market include discourses supporting communality and disparaging market logics, alternative exchange practices, and positioning consumption as self-expressive art. Findings reveal several communal practices that distance consumption from broader rhetorics of efficiency and rationality. Although Burning Man's participants materially support the market, they successfully construct a temporary hypercommunity from which to practice divergent social logics. Escape from the market, if possible at all, must be conceived of as similarly temporary and local.

  • Critical Theory
  • Cultural Theories and Analysis
  • Postmodernism/Poststructuralism
  • Ethnography
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