Packaging Life: Cultures of the Everyday


Pramod K. Nayar

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

    View Copyright Page


    This book is a study of four aspects of everyday life and the ways in which these are ‘packaged’ for us.

    ‘Packaging’ refers to the processes that construct particular meanings in public culture's many genres—promotional material, news reports, advice columns, product literature—and in various media such as magazines, TV shows, newspapers and cinema. ‘Packaging’ is a method of constructing meanings, assigning values and building opinions around a particular issue, commodity, service or condition of life. On many occasions, these meanings and opinions translate into the sale of products and services, and thus, become integral to consumer culture.

    Packaging Life: Cultures of the Everyday is a study of the cultural politics of health, comfort, risk and mobilities. Cultural politics, as this book sees it, involves the construction of meanings and values through a strategic use of representations, narrative and rhetoric. Such representations mask the ideologies behind the meanings of products, events and conditions. In other words, products, services and conditions instantiate discourses and, therefore, politics. Packaging Life ‘unpacks’ these ideologies that insinuate as discourses—discourses of the family, perfectible bodies, fairness, style and sociability—that inform representations of risk, comfort, home, old age, lifestyle, disease, connectivity and cosmopolitanism.

    This book explores the ways in which aspects of everyday life such as health, housing, lifestyles and identities acquire meanings such as good health, cosmopolitan identities or luxurious lifestyles. Such constructions—or what this book calls packaging—encourage us to buy particular commodities, adopt certain lifestyles, assimilate specific political or social beliefs and develop significant anxieties. In other words, discourses morph into consumer cultural practices. To ‘unpack’ a discourse is to track the ideologically macadamized route a commodity, attitude, response or behaviour traverses within the informational landscape of images, rhetoric, narratives and representations.

    My rationale for examining the cultures and discourses of health, comfort, risk and mobilities is simply that they seemed to me the most dominant ones in print, visual and other media, and which constitute the most prominent frames within which consumer cultures of the everyday work today. This book of course ought to have studied other forms of everyday life too: the packaging of sexuality, bodies, wisdom and sentiment among others. But if I did all that here, what would I do in my next book?

    And yes, the cutesy chapter titles are deliberate, and the product of my own perverse mind!

    Pramod K. Nayar


    I revived this book in late 2007 after some hiatus, partly on Elina Majumdar's encouragement; and so, I owe her a huge debt because, contrary to my fears at this revisiting of old haunts (a.k.a book ideas), I enjoyed researching and writing it (in between these two processes, I also did some thinking!). And, while I was writing about re-enchantment, taskmaster Elina also convinced me that there would be, must be, another soon after. Thank you, Elina of SAGE Publications.

    My work-in-progress (which sometimes is not progress) is usually haunted by frequent bouts of exhaustion which, I suspect, worry my parents and takes away the joy of seeing another of my books (‘one more’?). But they remain quietly, affectionately, prayerfully supportive, and for this I am very grateful—where else would I go?

    Nandini's enthusiasm for everything popular—FM Radio to Food Guides—is particularly useful because she directs me to sources I did not know existed. Her careful attention to product packaging has come in useful on too many occasions to number. For her unflagging energy born, no doubt, of a healthier diet than mine (here goes another ‘healthism’), affection and cheer, and her attempts to clear time and space for me to write, I am very grateful to N.

    Young Pranav's school projects—with their consequent (weekly) shopping expeditions for charts, chart-paper, pencils, crayons, match-sticks, odd-coloured ‘doughs’—and the chortle-interrupted together-viewing of Tom and Jerry, the awed together-reading of The Dark Knight Returns and the guffawed together-consumption of Asterix are necessary distractions for me. There is also now the added attraction of sharing interests with him—specifically the superhero comic book. For his ‘bundling’ presence—thank you, P. (And I do think ‘General Electric’ is the funniest name in Asterix, though ‘General Metric’ and his ‘metric system’ of warfare, Cumulonimbus, Makalos [Make-a-loss], Gluteus Maximus and Infirmofpurpos come pretty close).

    I must also thank my students, S. Vimala, Neeraja Sundaram and Deepthi Sebastian, for reading some of my chapters and offering suggestions and comments. Deepthi, in particular, deserves a special note of gratitude for tracking references and serving as a quick information-retrieval device for journal articles at the university (and delivering them by email at 7.35 every morning).

    I am grateful to the School of Media, Critical and Creative Arts, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), the UK, and my friend Colin Harrison there, for inviting me as Visiting Professor in February–March 2008. I also thank the India Foundation, Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Center for International Programmes, University of Dayton (Ohio, USA), who collaborated in inviting me as Visiting Professor in 2008. Both visits gave me the much-needed access to libraries and resources that helped shape this book.

    My academic friends in India and abroad have been suppliers of materials and encouraging (if bewildered) witnesses to my erratic course of work. I must thank, with great pleasure, Colin at LJMU for being one of my staunchest supporters, and of course Nandana Dutta and Brinda Bose. More recently, I have been privileged with the friendship of Akhila Ramnarayan at the University of Dayton and Rita Kothari at the Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad. Sophia College's English department (the indomitable Shireen Vakil, the persuasive Sr Ananda Amritamahal and my friend Jihasa Vachcharajani) invited me to a seminar on Gender and Popular Culture in early January 2008 where my paper on men's magazines offered me the opportunity to think about ‘healthisms’—thank you Sophia (and I am glad that I overcame my reluctance to be a ‘conferencee’ and attended the seminar).

    Talking popular culture with comrade-colleague Anna—my listening board, interlocutor, bibliographic researcher, library fellow-traveller and friend—is to open up several books simultaneously. This book, like the ones before it, is in irremediable debt to her intellect, reading and priceless affection (and for the gentle hints: ‘No, really Pramod, that sentence really does not work’).

    Mysore Jagadish of the American Library, Chennai, deserves special thanks for supplying me journal articles and books at incredible speed.

    Thanks to Anupam and the SAGE team for their editorial expertise and final sharpening and shaping of this book.

    Introduction: Packaging Life

    This book deals with the ways in which public culture constructs meanings around and about particular issues, concepts and conditions—especially those that constitute the framework within which we live, socialise, consume and are entertained and informed. It analyses how four select aspects of everyday life—health, risk, comfort and mobility—are ‘packaged’ in particular ways for us (there are of course many kinds of mobility, and so ‘mobilities’ might be a more apposite term). Life itself, this book argues via a scrutiny of these four components, gets ‘packaged’ through forms of representations in the media, in the rhetoric of ‘experts’ and in the hard-sell narrative of the manufacturing house.

    The book builds on a set of assumptions about cultural practices. Desires, experiences, ambitions, ideals and opinions in everyday life are always contaminated by the information, ideologies and images—representations—circulating around health, luxury or success. These representations are situated within larger contexts of enunciation; contexts that are permeated by relations of power and politics. These contexts of representation and enunciation are ‘discourses’.

    Discourse, in Hayden White's terms, ‘constitutes the objects it pretends only to describe realistically and objectively’ (White 1978: 2). Discourse, as a dictionary of cultural theory puts it succinctly, ‘is a means of producing and organizing meaning within a social context’ (Edgar and Sedgwick 2004: 117). More significantly, discourses are ‘signifying ways of systematically organizing human experience of the social world in language and thereby constituting modes of knowledge’ (Edgar and Sedgwick 2004: 117). Thus, discourse mediates the very experience of life. Proceeding from this definition, Packaging Life studies the discourses that enable, hinder and influence our experience of and views on health, comfort, risk and mobilities. It believes that the discourses emanating from the business house, the media and the expert, represent everyday life to us in specific ways, and our experience of these conditions, whether of risk or success, is at least partly inflected by our consumption of these representations.

    Public culture is the realm of social and cultural expressions in civil society. It is the space of cinema, advertisements, TV, celebrity culture, the woman's magazine, the Indian Premiere League (IPL) and sporting events, autobiographies of public figures, websites and webpages of institutions, tourist guides, museums, comic strips, and so on. It is a space where meanings are made, fought over, re-done, appropriated and subverted, and over which no control—state or corporate, to name but two—is total. It is the cultural ‘space’ of cinema that must be subject to critical scrutiny in Cultural Studies for the power relations that inform and mediate meaning-production.

    Claims and counter-claims over meanings are invariably debates about representation (that is, language). And representation is about narrative and the contexts in which narratives are produced, disseminated and received. Thus, the ‘meaning’ of an advert from an insurance company is produced within multiple discourses of risk, safety, prudence and planning. These discourses could be further refined into subcategories of biomedical, educational and financial risks, the rhetoric of safety for the family and discourses of ‘planning’.

    Take a topical example of this multi-layered discourse in public culture: obesity and health. We are inundated with discourses about health in this age of ‘healthism’. Newspaper reports about obesity, ads for low-fat food, medical and scientific information from nutrition specialists reprinted in magazines, advice in health columns in newspapers, insurance against risks and the rhetoric of care in hospitals treating fat-related cardiac problems are all discourses that ask us to:

    • buy a product (use sugar-free sweetener),
    • practice a particular regimen (add exercise to everyday schedules),
    • alter the lifestyle (delete fast foods) and/or
    • obtain a service (seek medical advice).

    What I propose to study, in such an instance, is the construction of obesity as a problem, issue and condition. I am interested in the meanings—biomedical, ethical, social, economic and aesthetic—constructed around obesity and obese individuals. This construction of meaning through various narratives and rhetorical strategies across various genres is what I am ‘packaging’.

    ‘Packaging’ is the discursive, representational, rhetorical and narrative dimension of public culture and, as this book demonstrates, of consumer culture. This meaning–consumer culture linkage requires some preliminary comments. Meaning, as theorists of consumer culture argue, is increasingly ‘provided by corporate entities seeking greater return on their investments’ and, therefore, they seek to govern the ‘public mind’—a process that results in ‘a mystical connection between consumers and purveyors, “consumer goods” and what Tim Duvall calls the “great chain of consumption”’ (Duvall 2003: 84–85). While Packaging Life subscribes to Duvall's argument about the public mind and its meaning-making being determined to a great extent by corporate interests and consumer goods suppliers, I also believe that ‘consumer’ culture involves more than a simple myth-making and its resultant consumption of goods and services. It involves, for instance, the development of particular views of the self, the body, success and health. While many of these views might be the regulating framework of consumption, it would be reductive to say all views and ideas eventually lead only to consumption. These ideas (could) also lead to different forms of socialization and domestic structures, public health policy and initiatives—and these are not solely about consumer culture. Thus, while it is mostly coterminous with ‘promotional culture’, ‘packaging’ differs from it in significant ways. I use the term as shorthand to signal the process through which meaning is ascribed to an object such as health or a car, and is accepted as such by the individual or community; a process that could alter, reinforce and generate forms of behaviour, social relations and domestic and public arrangements of people, space and time.

    To phrase it differently, ‘packaging’ as a term draws attention to the persuasive ways through which concepts, services, opinions and products are ‘sold’ to consumers and the audience. By ‘sold’ I do not mean only the commercial-financial element. ‘Sold’ also implies persuading people to have a particular opinion or develop a new value system. For the purposes of this book, ‘sold’ is the semantic scope of ‘commerce’ itself that is expanded to include cultural, socio-psychological and ideational elements, but always gesturing at the market dimension as well. What I am suggesting is: ‘Packaging’ partakes of the financial economy, but also of various other economies—psychological, mythic and socio-cultural. It is at once about selling a product or service, but also more than that—it generates values, ideas, beliefs, superstitions, myths, anxieties and panics that constitute a form of social knowledge and the contemporary cultural imaginary. ‘Packaging’ is my term for the narratives of commercially viable products as well as abstract ideas, of profit-motivated services as well as social causes, of saleable objects as well as ‘immaterial’ notions. ‘Packaging’ is the ornamentalized, glamourized or expertise-coated wrapping in which, among others, we:

    • encounter ideas about health and risk,
    • stare at imminent disasters and possible solutions,
    • experience anxieties,
    • evaluate products,
    • execute new forms of sociality and
    • conceive plans (and dreams) for political and social change.

    ‘Packaging’ is a multi-layered process that appropriates in various degrees and guises the tone, language, style, strategies and politics of scientism, commerce, social causes and ‘values’.

    This meaning-making process, or ‘packaging’, has ideological and political implications because it encodes particular notions of the family, the individual or ‘India and constructs’ ‘roles’ for individuals and collectives. Constructions of aged people, promotion of luxury as a desirable quality or emphasis on material success often call into question, reinforce or marginalize individuals or groups who do not fit into acceptable notions and categories of ‘youth’, ‘successful’ or ‘stylish’, and thus, construct power relations between people.

    Meaning-making that assigns roles, prescribes responsibilities and generates stereotypes (of men and women, age and leisure, success and comfort) are exercises in power and therefore of politics. Thus, promotional culture, which relies on such constructions of categories and notions, is a political matter. Further, the very act of constructing such categories in discourse is an exercise in power, for it catalogues, discerns or discriminates among individuals and groups. In other words, the discourses of promotional culture are always political. Packaging Life thus unpacks a bundle consisting of:

    • the commonly circulating discourses of health, risk or safety,
    • the material culture of cars, foods or phones,
    • the consumer culture that is often (but not always) the result of the first two and
    • the cultural codes that operate within these discourses so that they become effective.

    In earlier works, I had explored how various ‘genres’ of public culture such as cinema, the comic book, museums, tourism, mobile phones, housing, property and shopping and celebrity culture constructed particular kinds of meaning (Nayar 2006, 2008b, 2009b). Packaging Life extends these earlier works, examining the discursive constructions of health and illness, beauty and fitness, comfort and luxury, risk and moral threats, connectivity and cosmopolitanism within contemporary Indian (metropolitan) public culture and continually links them with a consumer culture.

    Packaging Life is alert to the cultural rhetorics of consumer culture where particular meanings often lead to, or induce a desire for, a particular product or action. Cultural rhetorics is the process of meaning-making through a highly strategic use of representations, and is more than a simple linguistic act, often referencing cultural contexts and appealing to and also ‘tweaking’ already circulating sentiments, beliefs, cultural norms and codes, value systems and traditions. Cultural codes, of course, are political, for they rely on specific notions of family, gender, class or leisure in order to reinforce, subvert or reject power relations between genders, classes, groups or communities.

    Public culture in this book is closely aligned with material and consumer culture, but is not restricted to either. Packaging Life is informed by the assumption that public culture depends mainly on narratives and discourses that generate meaning. A central component of public culture is the machinery that produces meaning in order to sell products and services. This is the structure of consumer culture, a feature of the public culture in most cultures across the world. The terms ‘consumer culture’ and ‘consumer society’ require a quick elaboration here.

    In the world of consumer culture, meaning and desire are cultivated in the consumer preliminary to the selling of a product or service. By consumer culture I mean the culture of commodities and commercialized services that we live with and in today. Consumer culture as a term is used to ‘emphasize that the world of goods and their principles of structuration are central to the understanding of contemporary society’ (Featherstone 1991: 84). This means paying attention to the cultural dimension of economy as well as the economic dimensions of cultural goods. Thus, we need to explore the ways in which films, soap operas, advertising and advice columns promote products whose sales are directly linked to economic profits. It also means that we study the profits garnered through the sale of films, albums, TV serial rights and sporting events. Consumption now plays a ‘systemic role,’ as David Clarke calls it (2003: 2), where it influences ways of thinking, political beliefs, religion, education, ideologies of emancipation, clothing and fashion, social groups and alliances—in short, practically all that constitutes a social order. Things—objects of consumption, from food to housing—of course signify and construct a sense of the self for the individual user. Objects become the means, in other words, of differentiating the individuals. But they also serve as modes of social integration because, as Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton point out, ‘The cultivation of individuality serves a larger goal of integration because the intention to differentiate oneself from others still needs other people to give it meaning’ (1981: 33). To borrow Jean Baudrillard's example, choosing one car over another may be an act of ‘personalization’ (or distinction), but ‘the most important thing about the fact of choosing is that it assigns you a place in the overall economic order’ (2008: 152).

    We have consumption as a basis for a social system of mutual recognition, affiliation and alliances. To cite David Clarke once more, ‘In a fully fledged consumer society, consumption performs a role that keeps the entire social system ticking over. … A consumer society … sees this common, everyday activity elevated to new heights’ (2003: 13). It is such a ‘social order’—and ‘social order’ signifies power and politics—of consumption that this book assumes is characteristic of urban India today.

    Consumption is political because it is, of course, about profits for the manufacturer. But it is also political for the ways in which it shapes an individual's identity, social relations and group affiliations. Consumption becomes political because it is one way (anti-consumerism activists will say, ‘only’) of interfacing with the world. Jonathan Friedman captures the political dimension of consumption when he writes:

    [Consumption] expresses a romantic longing to become an other in an existential situation where whatever one becomes must eventually be disenchanted by the knowledge that all identity is an arrangement of man-made [sic] products, thus an artifice. No authentic identity is possible, so consumption must go on in quest of a fulfillment that can never be attained. (Friedman 1991: 158; Lee 1993)

    Thus, consumption is related to the sense of self and identity, which in turn influences social interaction, and is therefore a political matter.

    Consumer culture constructs both the subject and the object of consumption—the buyer-user and the commodity, respectively. As Roberta Sassatelli points out, historically, numerous actors and institutions have helped construct the consumer as a ‘social persona’, and to ‘consolidate the consumer culture as a culture both for consumers and of consumers: both a set of commodities for people to consume in certain ways, and a set of representations of people as consumers’ (Sassatelli 2007: 41). The ‘subject of consumption’ is ‘the individual who is imagined and acted upon by the imperative to consume’ (Miller and Rose 1997: 1). The ‘imperative’ that Miller and Rose identify is what this book unravels—or unpacks—as the ideological-political subtext of consumer culture. Take the home and its ‘packaging’, for instance.

    Homes are spaces of domestic consumption, and therefore, invoke questions of commerce and economics as much as the world of bazaar or the mall. The economies of the home involving food and clothing, women and labour, household technologies and the very idea of ‘home’—that subsume ideologies of gender, the family, parenting and consumption—constitute a realm of the political (for an excellent representative volume dealing with the ‘economies’ and politics of domestic consumption, see Jackson and Moores 1995; also see Nayar 2008b, Chapter 5). Thus, the number of advertisements showing the woman taking decision to change the cooking oil for the health of her family encodes a cultural politics of domestic consumption where gender roles are constructed and reinforced.

    Consumer culture's aim is to ‘use images, signs and symbolic goods which summon up dreams, desires and fantasies,’ which it then proceeds to fulfil by providing goods and services (Featherstone 1991: 27). It is this aspect—the ‘use [of] images, signs and symbolic goods’—the present book is interested in. I am interested in the ways in which a diverse variety of goods, services, opinions, behaviour and attitudes are ‘packaged’ for us to desire, acquire, imitate and use. That is, I am interested in the sales pitch, the rhetorical strategies and the informational culture embedding products, brands, aesthetics and services: from insurance to water filters, from Cartier watches to social networking, from clothing accessories to six-pack abs. Packaging Life is also interested in non-consumer (that is, non-profiteering) discourses in public culture where values, concerns and advice are offered on looks, fitness and safety.

    How does an Armani jacket, a Spanish villa or a Roman artefact become associated with luxury and, therefore, wealth, success and power? How is global warming marketed as a matter of risk and, therefore, of common concern? How does a youth rave party become iconic, for some, of the ‘collapse of Indian values’? How does a low-carb diet get projected as the best thing for men's health? How is the texture of shampooed hair promoted as a desirable quality in teens? And since when did social mobility become associated with cosmopolitan tastes in food and fashion? How does the structural nature of consumer culture—shopping, manufacturing, advertising—become political? How does consumerism get embedded in politics, debates about morality, a social panic or the theme of ‘family values’? How does the purely ‘formal’ consumption of goods connect with more abstract notions of morality or values? And, conversely, how are these ‘values’—what I term ‘cultural rhetorics’—deployed to sell us products and services?

    These are the kinds of questions that inform this book. The book is interested less in context-specific empirical work of consumption (such as shopper surveys, profits and manufacturing). Its interest lies in the discourses surrounding matters such as health, risk, mobility and comfort rather than in particular brand marketing strategies.

    While this runs the risk of homogenizing several discourses—some of them not overtly ‘consumerist’, such as alternative and ethical consumerisms in the Ethical Consumer magazine, or public-interest ads—into one, it also enables me to map a larger terrain. It helps me to see how notions such as cosmopolitanism or health have become associated not only with commodities, but also with attitudes and lifestyles. It facilitates a reading of a variety of social phenomena, from moral panics in society about youth culture alongside the culture of fitness as (a) the process of generating significant meanings, and (b) the propagation of particular ideologies within public culture.

    The methodology used here is almost exclusively discourse studies from within the Cultural Studies approach. The project is not to discover or trace moments of origin or cause–effect sequences within discourse or material culture. My interest lies in ‘resonances’. I seek commonalities, overlaps, intersections and multiplicities in themes, figures, images and ideas. I want to see how images and themes in genres as diverse and as specific (in terms of their technologies of representation) advertising, films, TV serials, magazine cultures, brochures, promotional material, official documentation resonate with each other. Thus, the focus is less on tracing origins of these discourses or material objects than on intersecting, overlapping and even conflicting cultural processes and discourses that construct images of say, health or risk and safety.

    My intention is to read representational strategies, rhetorical styles and discourses that serve up gadgets, services, views in particular ways in order to maximize impact and consumption. Thus, Packaging Life is an example of a Cultural Studies that is more interested in language, representation and rhetoric and treats them and the meanings they construct as political.

    Cultural Studies, especially the strand influenced by poststructuralism, believes that language and narrative—discourse—are signifying practices that construct meanings and identities for people, products, events and things. Discourse is the context in which material objects, people and events acquire meaning. It is the language and narrative shared amongst the manufacturer of the product, the producer of the advert and the potential buyer that constructs the meaning of that commodity. It is the narrative act of communication between the medical practitioner about the symptom and the ill-feeling patient that constructs the individual as ‘diseased’. Discourse, in short, is the mode through which we understand, interpret and share the world, as I have already emphasized in the inaugural moments of this introduction. Medicine constructs the sick/healthy body, the law the criminal or victim body.

    Religion fetishizes sin as a concept and practice and fashions an identity of the ‘sinner’. The marketer treats the individual as the buyer. All these are discourses with their own rhetorical and narrative modes. My ‘texts’, in keeping with the approach, are many and multi-modal—advertisements, TV, brochures, cinema, product literature, advise columns, magazines, newspapers, official documents and websites. This does run the risk of ignoring the conventions of every form—the use of audio or voice-over and the reduction of everything to the verbal—but, I believe, it facilitates the tracing of a map of the discourse in all its variations, undulations and blind-ends.

    Packaging Life is the study of four such discourses that are central to our lives today: health, risk, comfort and mobility. ‘Packaging’, from ‘pack’, is etymologically linked to both ‘bundle’ and ‘deliver’. I use the term in all its semantic dimensions. I use it to refer, therefore, to the bundling together of ideas and products into one rhetorical form, a narrative ‘bundle’ where ideologies of consumerism are entwined with those of self-care, where notions of fashion cosmopolitanism co-exist—share discursive and representational space—with a sense of local pride. I use it also to speak of the transportation—‘delivering’ of ideas and meanings through images in multiple media forms to the consumer, citizen, community and individual. ‘Packaging’ is a term I use to describe an act of communication—or narration—as the vehicle of meaning-production, delivery and reception where multiple ideologies, purposes, effects are bundled together. It also references, quite self-consciously, the ‘packaging’ of products for consumption.

    Adapting theories of consumer societies based on empirical studies of Euro-American cultures in order to ‘read’ Indian public culture runs the risk of an inappropriate ‘application’ without due attention to historical and other specificities. This is true despite the fact that India is now one of the largest consumer markets in the world (since 2006, it has topped the AT Kearney Global Retail Development Index, showing a 25 to 30 per cent growth rate in retailing),1 and its metropolitan cultures exhibit several of the hallmarks of First World consumer cultures—from malls to the dominance of brand cultures.

    But one of the several advantages ‘theory’ has, especially in Cultural Studies, is that it can work across geographical locations. Reading discourses, rhetorical strategies or representations for ideological subtexts of gender or class often demands an attention to language. Studies of representation are ‘theoretical’, but are, I believe, adaptable for reading cultural practices across different social and geographical contexts.

    This book locates consumer culture and its many representational modes within ‘political’ themes of class, gender and the new urbanisms. ‘Politics’, as this book sees it, is essentially about power, ideology and the control over people, ideas and behaviour, where ideology works mainly through suggestion, advice and opinion. In the case of consumer cultures, the sense of ‘politics’ leans towards signification and the power promotional materials (essentially, narratives) have over people's behaviour, the influence they exert over attitudes and beliefs, the ways in which meanings are constructed so as to sell products and services, and the effective languages of persuasion. It foregrounds the power of selling, just as it emphasizes the power of purchasing, where purchase and consumption represent not simply a matter of appropriate sartorial codes or aesthetics but the very basis of identity. It gestures at the gendered ideology of domesticity and the family that inform the rhetoric of insurance ads or health products' promotion. It sees mobility, success and ‘careerism’ as a near-prescriptive ideology that seeks to present particular goals and desires for the ‘new’ India.

    Like all Cultural Studies, this one is selective too—both in terms of its ‘sites’ as well as approaches. The study's scope remains the metropolitan settings of shopping malls, corporate hospitals, glossy (and expensive) magazines and predominantly English-language promotional materials. It ignores, therefore, rural marketing and the semi-urban sector. I am aware that this circumscribes the study of consumer packaging in India, but makes no claims of doing anything more. Moreover, it should be clear that I am interested in the consumer- or user-end of the consumption process, not with the production end. This is not to deny the importance of productive labour, economic policy and industrial capitalism in consumer cultures. But my focus is however on how these processes manifest.

    My first case study is the discourse of health in contemporary Indian public culture. ‘Packaging health’ is the process through which a low-calorie body signifying health becomes a product, an event, a desirable entity, a condition of life and an element of consumer culture. The ‘packaging’ of health in contemporary public culture generates, I argue, an ideology of ‘healthism’ and a culture of care and cure. Health is packaged, among other things, as a desirable and acquirable state of wellness, and one that is acquirable through the purchase and use of particular commodities and services—what I am calling a low-calorie edition of life itself.

    With this aim in mind, I look at discourses that medicalize everyday lives through an informational culture of disease and health and the ideologically potent narratives of healthism. I explore the culture of care and cure that manifests in myths, ideas and advice about the perfectible body and an ideology of ‘care of the self’. Finally, I look at the business of managing health today. We live in a culture where wellness is the concern of, and therefore promoted by, insurance companies, biomedical research organizations, the medical fraternity, gyms and fitness centres, and even the state. In this age of managing wellness, we can see an increasing technologization of health in the form of scans, digital projects of medical research and even art forms that are located at the intersection of biomedicine, technology and arts. Managing health is also the concern of the state, and this often modulates into a condition where programmes, projects and campaigns acquire a distinct militaristic tone. The ‘biomilitary state’, as I term this, is an important element in the discourse of health today, and is studied in some detail here. Finally, I turn to social marketing where products and services seek to serve the purpose of social advocacy. This includes the creation of medical spectacles (including scandals) and even medical horror films that serve an important function in popularizing medical conditions and solutions.

    In the second chapter, I look at a more consumer-oriented and consumerist aspect of public culture: comfort and the ‘deluxe edition’ of life. The chapter analyzes a major shift—from comfort to luxury—within consumer culture in the late 20th century. I explore, first, the culture of comfort. Comfort is linked, in contemporary culture, with consumption. Products and services are, therefore, increasingly promoted as objects that add to one's physical, emotional and mental comfort. The packaging of comfort has two components. The culture of comfort, I argue, relies on a rhetoric of ‘Utility Plus’, or a culture of the supplement where something extra is needed to make a necessity a comfort. This supplement is both a necessary completion and an excess that renders the object comfort. Comfort, in other words, is the consequence of the supplement in consumer culture's discourses.

    I then turn to matters of styling, arguing that the ‘stylization of life’ (Featherstone 1991: 97) is an index of comfort and a mix of brand biography and self-branding. It is in stylization that the shift from comfort to luxury first makes its appearance. In the section on the culture of luxury, I first deal with the ‘de-moralization of luxury’, where indulgence is no more seen as immoral, but rather as an earned marker of success. I then move on to two particular modes of packaging luxury—as ornamentalism and re-enchantment. Under re-enchantment, I discuss specific features grouped under ‘sacralization’ wherein products and services—and their users—are ‘sacralized’, rendered special, unique and luxurious.

    The third chapter turns to the packaging of risk in contemporary culture and its role in constructing a bubble-wrapped edition of life. I propose that risk-packaging demands an act of imagination, offering us scenarios of disaster and threat. Risk culture depends on the availability of information about such impending, probable threats, and disseminates this information within a language of risk that de-mythifies risk.

    Risk cultures demand an emotional response from us, and ‘emotional imaging’ is a constituent of this packaging. Moral panics, the most visible outcome of this emotional response, are a commonplace condition, I argue, even as I study the ‘structure’ of a moral panic. The packaging of risk also includes expert cultures, where the solution to the imminent risk is provided by the expert. Finally, I turn to risk practices, modes of preventing and alleviating the conditions and events of risk—which include apportioning blame and risk aversion.

    In the last chapter, Packaging Life addresses a dominant form of public culture: the culture of mobility, or the high-speed edition of life. Mobility is repurposed as a significant trope and metaphor in addition to the physical act of transportation in the late 20th century. The chapter opens with a survey of the most prominent mode of mobility—connectivity. It explores, first, mobile phones and its resultant multiple mobilities, and second, social networking and mobile subjectivity.

    I then go on to consumption as a mode and condition of mobility, addressing the acts of mobile consumption—shopping—and the global circulation of consumer goods. The following section takes up ‘automobility’, where the purpose is not to examine automobiles as much as the discourses of automobility—from car ads to the convergence of automobility with entertainment. In the section on cultural mobilities, I address a crucial form of mobilities visible in cosmopolitan, globalized cities today—food cultures. The cultural rhetorics here, I argue, take recourse to the image of the global citizen. The last section deals with what I take to be the most spectacular form of mobility—cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitanism is now a much-desired dream of the metropolitan shopper, and constitutes a concrete ‘consumer orientation’ according to consumer research (Caldwell et al. 2006). Here, I locate a cosmopolitan ideal of products, services and experiences as instantiating a culture of mobility.

    Several other discourses and cultural phenomena, of course, need to be studied, which this book has left out. Sexuality, the sacred, sentiment, death and romance are proximate aspects of everyday life that come packaged to us in different ways. These discourses find expression in adverts, reportage, popular and mass cultural forms such as TV shows and magazines, and are presented to us in different ways, some in order to sell products or services, but often as mythic, imaginative or rhetorical forms.

    Packaging Life is an exercise in ‘unpacking’. It offers an interpretive scheme to decode four of the dominant discourses in contemporary Indian public culture by prising open the cultural politics embedded in consumer rhetoric, commentary, advice and expert talk. It thus shows the way to read obvious, legitimized and legitimizing, ‘naturalized’ discourses that control social relations and encode power. With this ‘unpacking’ it performs, hopefully, the anterior moment of political or dissident readings by showing how these discourses conceal power, and therefore, can be subverted or resisted from within through an alert reading practice.


    1 Data from (accessed on 1 April 2009).

  • Conclusion: Unpacking

    This book has argued that our experience and perception of health, success, comfort and luxury, mobility and cosmopolitanism are mediated by intersecting, interpenetrating and even conflicting discourses circulating in the mass media. The persistent theme of the book has been the link of conditions of everyday life to consumer culture, especially in the informationalism, glamourization and managerialism that constitute the contemporary discourses of health, risk, comfort and mobilities. This is ‘packaging’, the process of meaning-making for particular ends. Packaging Life underscored the centrality of representation, narrative, image-making and rhetoric—‘packaging’—in enabling discourses to circulate.

    The semantic scope of the term ‘packaging’, as used throughout the book, works with its adjunct meanings and connotations: ‘bundle’ and ‘deliver’. I have used it to refer to the bundling together of ideas and products, where ideologies of consumerism are entwined with those of self-care or notions of cosmopolitan fashion are aligned with local pride. I have also used ‘packaging’ in its sense of ‘transportation’—the ‘delivery’ of ideas and meanings through images in multiple media forms to the consumer, citizen, community and individual. ‘Packaging’ is a term I use to describe a deliberate, organized act of communication—narration—and the vehicle of meaning production, delivery and reception, where multiple ideologies, purposes, effects are bundled together.

    Health comes to us packaged as a culture of care and cure when a ‘low calorie edition’ of life is projected as the most desirable form. This packaging generates a ‘healthism’ where a particular condition of the body is projected and promoted as desirable and acquirable. Healthism promotes, I demonstrated, an ideology where the care of the self was a personal responsibility, especially in the age of lifestyle diseases. Health is a state of the body whose norms, limits and deviations are ‘packaged’ for us, and whose ‘achievement’ becomes a consumer ideal.

    The chapter on comfort traced a shift from comfort to luxury. In the late 20th century, the chapter argued, the emphasis is on Utility Plus. ‘Stylization’ is central to this condition where the product and the self are both ‘branded’, and luxury becomes an intertextual narrative where brand- and self-narratives merge seamlessly, each feeding off the other. A de-moralization of luxury has occurred where indulgence is no more immoral, rather it is a constituent of a successful personhood. Products and services are ‘sacralized’ through a bestowing of singularization, including an antiquarianism, where objects are transported and valued across spatial and temporal zones to produce polychronic, ‘untimely’ and multi-spatial artefacts.

    The chapter on ‘packaging risk’ argued that everyday life is increasingly depicted as risk-filled—and, therefore, proposes a ‘bubble-wrapped edition’ of life. The discourse, of risk, I proposed, participates in a discourse of managerialism—but a managerialism that is not only about organizations and careers, but also about everyday life and the self The packaging of risk also includes, I demonstrated, expert cultures, where the solution to the imminent risk is provided by the expert.

    In the last chapter, I examined a dominant form of public culture: the culture of mobility. We live in a ‘culture of mobility’ marked, primarily, by connectivity as mobility—generating what I have termed the ‘high-speed edition’ of life. It explored the multiple mobilities of cell phones, social networking and mobile subjectivity and the apotheosis of mobility in the late 20th century: cosmopolitanism.

    If I were to summarize in a phrase, Packaging Life is a study of the culture of management—managing the self, identity, homes, impressions and styles, ideas, emotions, product-use and health. This managerialism is constructed subtly through narratives and representations. The book's emphasis is clear: everyday life is informed through and through by modes of representation in the mass media that ‘sell’ us products, services, ideas and opinions about thin bodies, luxurious villas, social justice, global warming and inspire, scare or ask us to manage bodies, finances, leisure, families, mind, emotions, in short, the components of our everyday experiences. ‘Selling’ and ‘consumption’ here are taken to mean more than just the merchandising and passive purchase-use of products and services. In this book, it is taken to mean the making-available of conceptual frameworks, belief systems and an envelope of opinions within which an individual or group's thinking, actions, responses and emotional states can occur and, more importantly, altered, sensitized, roused and driven in particular directions. These conceptual frameworks help us perceive the world, and are first made visible to us through narrative and rhetoric—language—in ads, political speeches, cinema, product biography and expert advice.

    The task the book sets for itself is to probe the ways in which our beliefs, opinions and products are packaged for us to consume, practice and trust in. The construction of conceptual frameworks (within representations) that influence the way we think, believe and see the world whether in the domain of health, risk, comfort or mobility demands an ‘unpacking’ that exposes the regulatory grid and cultural politics of these representations.

    The process of ‘unpacking’ serves an explicatory purpose, decoding representational practices that we have so far accepted as innocent, whether it is the rhetoric of the expert, the ravings of the hysterical ‘the end-is-near’ apocalyptist, the suaveness of the salesman or the glamorization of thin by ramp-walking models. To ‘unpack’ is to render transparent, and therefore, open to scrutiny, disbelief and, most importantly, interrogation, those processes of meaning-making that convince us to buy, believe, panic, diet and insure. To ‘unpack’ is to unfold the cultural politics that are secreted within entertainment, educational media, dollops of information and the expert discourse of medicine or climate. It is the name of the process of critical examination that tells us exactly how promotional material, information brochures and advice columns build on our fears, anxieties and desires in order to sell, convince, persuade and believe; in short, to consume. ‘Unpacking’ is the exegetical process of peeling aside the façade that makes consumers of us all—whether it is to scapegoat a community, buy a product or mimic a model.

    The decoding of representations, or what this book terms ‘unpacking’, is firmly positioned within the discourse studies component of Cultural Studies. None of the everyday structures of thought or action are unmediated or neutral; it is representation and meaning-making that make them appear so. And therefore, ‘to unpack’ is an imperative ifwe are to be alert to the cultural politics of public representations in cinema, the soap opera, the health column or the men's magazine.

    ‘Packaging’, as this book has demonstrated, encodes particular notions of the family, the individual or ‘India’, even as it constructs ‘roles’ for individuals and collectives. It maps abstract values such as ‘comfort’ or ‘luxury’ onto classes and economic groups, onto particular spaces (urban culture) and practices (clubbing, global cuisine consumption), and thus, engages in politically significant cultural rhetorics that organizes individuals and groups into income brackets, consumer types and vote banks. It smuggles ideologies of gender roles, class, success and wealth into advice, reportage, entertainment and education. Forms of representation in public culture blur or cement over the ideological grids of capitalism, consumerism, exploitation or oppression. ‘Packaging’ is the glamorous representation that must be ‘unpacked’ for the politics of popular forms.

    Constructions—a term to indicate meaning-making and representations—of aged people, the promotion of luxury as a desirable quality, or the emphasis on material success often call into question, reinforce or marginalize individuals or groups that do not fit into acceptable notions and categories of ‘youth’, ‘successful’ or ‘stylish’, and thus, construct power relations between people. All discourses are about power, and are hence, political in the sense that they seek/hope to influence people's actions. This could be the consciousness-raising campaigns against global warming, the sympathetic-consideration of a medical condition, the promotion of lifestyle changes via alternative medicine or the whipping up of moral panics around the supposed corruption of Indian youth. Thus, meanings and representations have a concrete interventionary role in people's thinking and actions—whether in the purchase of a product or the political opinions about immigrants. The promotional culture of consumerism relies on the construction of categories and notions, and is therefore, an exercise in power, for it catalogues, discerns or discriminates among individuals and groups. Promotional culture, or ‘packaging’, appropriates prevalent ‘cultural rhetorics’ in order to persuade its audience. Cultural rhetorics is political for the underlying cultural codes rely on specific notions of family, gender, class or leisure in order to reinforce, subvert or reject power relations between genders, classes, groups or communities. The woman ‘responsible’ for the health of her family is deemed, as the chapter on risk showed, for instance, to possess a ‘domestic autonomy’ that allows her to determine the health of her family and thus, choose the right forms of consumption. Gender evidently informs the cultural politics of domestic consumption. When the Idea adverts with Abhishek Bachchan erase all caste, family, spatial and class locations and substitutes these affiliations with numbers (the mobile phone numbers), it indulges in a political fantasy of the re-formation of identities. What needs to be ‘unpacked’ in this advert is the packaged naturalization of difference into an illusion of equality.

    ‘Unpacking’ is the careful teasing out of these discourses so that we never again look at everyday life and its discourses—the VLCC ad, the helpful insurance salesman or the invitation to luxury—as ‘innocent’. ‘Unpacking’ is the generation of dissident reading practices so that we learn to scrutinize these rhetorical forms of promotional, advice or expert cultures for what they conceal. Unpacking cultural politics is a Cultural Studies project. The task for Cultural Studies, especially of the discourse-studies kind embodied in Packaging Life (and which it packages!), is this unpacking of the political subtexts of narratives about risk, health, comfort and mobilities in Indian public culture in multiple media and genres. These narratives are embedded—or, more accurately, constitute the very stuff of—promotional, expert, entertainment and advice culture. Cultural Studies reiterates the need for a politically alert reading, and Packaging Life's ‘unpacking’ calls attention to the question of power—in formations of gender relations, class marking, urban spacing or media representations—of finance, ideas, social organization, domestic conditions and individual choices within these four discourses.

    Such an ‘unpacking’ has to proceed from a specific assumption from within Cultural Studies: that acts of representation are political, that narratives are embedded in discourses that have social manifestations, and that rhetoric possesses considerable cultural power and effects on the individual, collective and social imagination. The task of this ‘unpacking’ is to see how such representations codify particular practices of discrimination, support, emancipation or oppression as natural and legitimize power relations among groups and between individuals.

    ‘Unpacking’ is the process of unravelling the ‘delivery’ mechanisms and ‘bundled’ ideologies of public culture's representations. It is to offer an interpretive framework for reading those cultural practices and representations that have always been taken to be, or masquerade as, natural, transparent and obvious. To ‘unpack’ is to tease out the multiple ways of coding power relations within discourses in order to alert us to the endless potential of rhetorical and representational strategies for controlling, altering and surveilling social relations and the cultural imaginary. To ‘unpack’ is to explore the possibilities for emancipation, alternative thinking, radicalism and resistance within discourses and prevalent structures of signification by encouraging a dissident reading practice. To unpack is, therefore, a political act.


    Abaza, M.2001. ‘Shopping Malls, Consumer Culture and the Reshaping of Public Space in Egypt’, Theory, Culture & Society, 18(5): 97–122.
    ABC News. 2007. ‘Indian Doctors Separate Toddler from Conjoined Twin’, 7 November. Available online at (accessed on 2 June 2007).
    Abedin, M.Z.2005. ‘AIDS Threat to Bangladesh from India’, Global Politician, 24 October. Available online at (accessed on 3 April 2009).
    AC Nielsen/Net Ratings. 2006. ‘Social Networking Sites Grow 47 Percent, Year over Year, Reachign 45 Percent of Web Users, According to Nielsen/Net Ratings’, 11 May. Available online at (accessed on 4 June 2008).
    AC Nielsen. 2006. ‘Consumer Confidence and Healthy Bank Balances to Drive Consumer Spending in Time for Christmas and New Years’, 19 December. Available online at (accessed on 6 June 2008).
    AC Nielsen. 2007. ‘Indians to Pursue Health and Fitness in the Year 2008’, 31 December. Available online at (accessed on 6 June 2008).
    AC Nielsen. 2008a. ‘Friendship, the Number One Attraction of Social Networking Sites’, 3 April 2008. Available online at (accessed on 6 June 2008).
    AC Nielsen. 2008b. ‘Internet the New Pit Stop for Indian Shoppers?’ 1 February. Available online at (accessed on 6 June 2008).
    Achaya, K.T.1994. Indian Food: A Historical Companion. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
    AC Nielsen. 2002. A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
    Adam, B., U.Beck and J.V.Loon (eds). 2000. The Risk Society and Beyond: Critical Issues for Social Theory. London: Sage Publications.
    Aiyar, S.2008. ‘India's New Spots’, India Today, 11 August, pp. 54–58.
    All India Institute of Medical Sciences. 2007. ‘Prevention of Seasonal Diseases’, May 2007. Available online at (accessed on 2 June 2008).
    Anand, A.2002. The Beauty Game. New Delhi: Penguin.
    Annandale, E.2001. The Sociology of Health and Medicine: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge: Polity.
    Appadurai, A. (ed.). 1986. The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Archibugi, Daniele. 2003. Debating Cosmopolitics. London: Verso.
    Astroff, R.K. and A.K.Nyberg. 1992. ‘Discursive Hierarchies and the Construction of Crisis in the News’, Discourse and Society, 3(1): 5–24.
    Atkins, L.2008. ‘What Does a Heart Attack Feel Like?’The Hindu, Chennai, 6 August, p. 11.
    Backes, N.1997. ‘Reading the Shopping Mall City’, Journal of Popular Culture, 31(3): 1–17.
    Banerji, C.2007. Eating India: Exploring a Nations Cuisine. New Delhi: Penguin.
    Barthes, R.1972a. ‘The Writer on Holiday’, Mythologies, pp. 29–31. Trans. AnnetteLavers. London: Jonathan Cape.
    Barthes, R.1972b. ‘The New Citroen’, Mythologies, pp. 88–90. Trans. AnnetteLavers. London: Jonathan Cape.
    Baudrillard, J.2008 (1996). The System of Objects. Trans. JamesBenedict. 1996. New Delhi: Navayana.
    Bauman, Z.1993. Postmodern Ethics. Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell.
    Bauman, Z.2000. Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity.
    Beasley, C.2005. Gender and Sexuality: Critical Theories, Critical Thinkers. London: Sage Publications.
    Beck, U.1992. Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. London: Sage Publications.
    Beck, U.2000. ‘Risk Society Revisited: Theory, Politics and Research Programmes’, in B.Adam, U.Beck and J.V.Loon (eds), The Risk Society and Beyond: Critical Issues for Social Theory, pp. 211–29. London: Sage Publications.
    Beck, U.2002. ‘The Cosmopolitan Society and its Enemies’, Theory, Culture & Society, 19(1–2): 17–44.
    Beck, U.2006. The Cosmopolitan Vision. Trans. CiaranCronin. Oxford: Polity.
    Beckmann, J.2004. ‘Mobility and Safety’, Theory, Culture and Society, 21 (4–5): 81–100.
    Belk, R.W., M.Wallendorf and J.F.Sherry. 1989. ‘The Sacred and the Profane in Consumer Behavior: Theodicy on the Odyssey’, Journal of Consumer Research, 16: 1–38.
    Bennett, J.2001. ‘Commodity Fetishism and Commodity Enchantment’, Theory and Event, 5(1). Available online at (accessed on 27 May 2008).
    Berg, M.2005. Luxury and Pleasure in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Berg, M. and H.Clifford (eds). 1999. Consumers and Luxury: Consumer Culture in Europe, 1650–1850. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
    Berg, M. and E.Eger (eds). 2003. Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Best, A.L.2006. Fast Cars, Cool Rides: The Accelerating World of Youth and their Cars. New York: New York University Press.
    Bezbaruah, S.2004. ‘Lust for Youth’, India Today, 15 March. Available online at (accessed on 6 July 2009).
    Bhaskar, A.2007. ‘Royalty and Sympathy’, Outlook Traveller, 7(1): 78–83.
    Bianchi, M.1998. ‘Consuming Novelty: Strategies for Producing Novelty in Consumption’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 28(2): 3–18.
    Bijapurkar, R.2007. We Are Like That Only: Understanding the Logic of Consumer India. New Delhi: Penguin-Portfolio.
    Bobb, D.2006. ‘Wired Generation’, India Today, 20 November.
    Bordo, S.1990. Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body. Berkeley and London: University of California Press.
    Bourdieu, P.1999. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Trans. RichardNice. London and New York: Routledge.
    Bowlby, R.2000. Carried Away: The Invention of Modern Shopping. London: Faber and Faber.
    Boyne, R.2003. Risk. Buckingham: Open University Press.
    Braudel, F.1981. Structures of Everyday Life: The Limits of the Possible, Volume I of Civilization and Capitalism, 15th–18th Century. Trans. SiânReynolds. London: Phoenix Press.
    British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) South Asia. 2007. ‘Girl Separation Surgery a Success’, 7 November. Available online at (accessed on 2 June 2008).
    BBC News. 1999. ‘India Gets a Taste of UK Tikka’, BBC News, 3 November. Available online at (accessed on 12 June 2008).
    BBC News. 2001. ‘Chicken Tikka Masala: Spice and Easy Does It’, BBC News, 20 April. Available online at (accessed on 12 June 2008).
    BBC News. 2004. ‘French Scarf Ban Comes into Force’, BBC News, 2 September. Available online at (15 June 2008).
    BBC News. 2005. ‘Doctors Back Conjoined Twins Op’, BBC News, 4 October. Available online at (accessed on 1 June 2008).
    Brody, J.1993. ‘17 States in Vanguard of War on Smoking’, The New York Times, 10 November. Available online at (accessed on 27 May 2008).
    Bury, M.1982. ‘Chronic Illness as Biographical Disruption’, Sociology of Health and Illness, 4(2): 167–82.
    Bury, M. and J.Gabe. 2006. ‘Television and Medicine: Medical Dominance or Trial by Media?’, in D.Kelleher, J.Gabe and G.Williams (eds), Challenging Medicine,
    2nd edition
    , pp. 62–84. London and New York: Routledge.
    Bury, M. and J.Gabe. (eds). 2004. The Sociology of Health and Illness: A Reader. London and New York: Routledge.
    Caldwell, M., K.Blackwell and K.Tulloch. 2006. ‘Cosmopolitanism as a Consumer Orientation: Replicating and Extending Prior Research’, Qualitative Market Research, 9(2): 126–39.
    Campbell, C.1987. The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Carrigan, T, R.W.Connell and J.Lee. 1985. ‘Toward a New Sociology of Masculinity’, Theory and Society, 14(5): 551–604.
    Cartwright, L.1998. ‘A Cultural Anatomy of the Visible Human Project’, in P.A.Treichler, L.Cartwright and C.Penley (eds), The Visible Woman: Imaging Technologies, Gender, and Science, pp. 21–43. New York and London: New York University Press.
    Castells, M.1996. The Rise of the Network Society. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Chard, C.1999. Pleasure and Guilt on the Grand Tour: Travel Writing and Imaginative Geography 1600–1830. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
    Charon, R.2006. Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Chauhan, P.2002. ‘Stress on Developing Strategy to Tackle Malaria’, The Tribune, 11 July. Available online at (accessed on 30 May 2008).
    Cheah, Pheng and BruceRobbins (eds). 1998. Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
    Clark, S.B.2004. ‘Frankenflicks: Medical Monsters in Classic Horror Films’, in L.D.Friedman (ed.), Cultural Sutures: Medicine and Media, pp. 129–48. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
    Clarke, D.B.2003. The Consumer Society and the Postmodern City. London and New York: Routledge.
    Clifford, J.1997. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
    Cohen, D.2006. Household Gods: The British and their Possessions. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
    Condit, C.M. and D.M.Condit. 2001. ‘Blueprints and Recipes: Gendered Metaphors for Genetic Medicine’, Journal of the Medical Humanities, 22(1): 29–39.
    Connell, R.W. and J.Wood. 2005. ‘Globalization and Business Masculinities’, Men and Masculinities, 7(4): 347–64.
    Cook, R.1988Outbreak. New York: Berkley Books.
    Corner, J., K.Richardson and N.Fenton. 1990. ‘Textualizing Risk: TV Discourse and the Issue of Nuclear Energy’, Media, Culture and Society, 12 (1): 105–24.
    Critcher, C.2003. Moral Panics and the Media. Buckingham: Open University Press.
    Csikszentmihalyi, M. and E.Rochberg-Halton. 1981. The Meaning of Things: Domestic Symbols and the Self. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Crowley, J.1999. ‘The Sensibility of Comfort’, American Historical Review, 104(3). Available online at (accessed on 3 April 2009).
    Daily News and Analysis (DNA). 2007. ‘251 Youth Held at Rave Party near Pune’, Daily News and Analysis, 4 March. Available online at (accessed on 9 March 2008).
    Daily News and Analysis (DNA). 23 November 2007. ‘One Arrested for Manufacturing Duplicate Medicine’, 23 November. Available online at (accessed on 2 June 2008).
    Dalal, T.2002. The Samsung Book of Indian Microwave Cooking, New Delhi: Samsung India Electronics Ltd.
    Dalby, A.2001. ‘Christopher Columbus, Gonzalo Pizarro, and the Search for Cinnamon’, Gastronomica, 1(2): 40–49.
    Dando, M.2006. Bioterror and Biowarfare: A Beginner's Guide. New York: One-world.
    Darukhanawala, A.J.2007. ‘Brainy Hardcore Bruiser’, Car India, 2(11): 45–51.
    Das, D.K.2004. ‘AIDS in India: The Cultural Politics of Disease’, S.P.Rath, K.C.Baral and D.V.Rao (eds), Reflections on Literature, Criticism and Theory: Essays in Honour of Professor Prafulla C. Kar, pp. 170–78. New Delhi: Pencraft.
    Datta, P.T.J.2003. ‘Beating the Obesity Trap’, The Hindu Business Line, 26 July. Available online at (accessed on 8 May 2008).
    Davis, C.2002. ‘Contagion as Metaphor’, American Literary History, 14(4): 828–36.
    Dawkins, R.1976. (2007). The Selfish Gene. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
    Dean-Ruzicka, R.2009. ‘Vengeance, Healing and Justice: Post 9/11 Culture through the Lens of CSI’, Quarterly Review of Film & Video, 26(2): 118–30.
    Debord, Guy. 1967. Society of the Spectacle. Detroit: Black and Red.
    Dharwadker, V.2001. ‘Cosmopolitanism in its Time and Place’, in Dharwadker (ed.), Cosmopolitan Geographies: New Locations in Literature and Culture, pp. 1–13. London and New York: Routledge.
    Diwekar, R.2009. Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight. New Delhi: Random House India.
    Douglas, M.1966. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
    Douglas, M.1994. ‘Risk and Justice’, in MaryDouglas, Risk and Blame: Essays in Cultural Theory, pp. 22–37. London and New York: Routledge.
    Doyle, J. and K.O'Riordan. 2002. ‘Virtually Visible: Female Cyberbodies and the Medical Imagination’, in M.Flanagan and A.Booth (eds), Reload: Rethinking Women + Cyberculture, pp. 239–260. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    Dudley, S.2002. ‘Local Identities and Global Flows of Objects and Images’, Oxford-Development Studies, 30(2): 165–76.
    Duits, L. and L.Van Zoonen. 2006. ‘Headscarves and Porno-chic: Disciplining Girls' Bodies in the Multicultural European Society’, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 13(2): 103–17.
    Dutta, M.J. and G.D.Bodie. 2008. ‘Web Searching for Health: Theoretical Foundations and Connections to Health Related Outcomes’, in A.Spink and M.Zimmer (eds), Web Search: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, pp. 235–54. Berlin: Springer.
    Düttmann, A.G.1996. At Odds with AIDS: Thinking and Talking About a Virus. Trans. P.Gilgen and C.Scott-Curtis. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
    Duvall, T.2003. ‘The New Feudalism: Globalization, the Market, and the Great Chain of Consumption’, New Political Science, 25(1): 81–97.
    Dürrschmidt, J.2000. Everyday Lives in the Global City: The Delinking of Locale and Milieu. London and New York: Routledge.
    Eade, J.1997. ‘Introduction’, in J.Eade (ed.), Living the Global City: Globalization as a Local Process, pp. 1–19. London and New York: Routledge.
    Edensor, R.2004. ‘Automobility and National Identity: Representation, Geography and Driving Practice’, Theory, Culture and Society, 21(4–5): 101–20.
    Edgar, A. and P.Sedgwick. 2004. Key Concepts in Cultural Theory. London and New York: Routledge.
    Esposito, R.2008. Bios: Biopolitics and Philosophy. Trans. TimothyCampbell. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.
    Eves, R.C.2005. A Recipe for Remembrance: Memory and Identity in African-American Women's Cookbooks', Rhetoric Review, 24(4): 280–97.
    Falk, P.1997. The Consuming Body. London: Sage Publications.
    Fayrer, J.1882. On the Climate and Fevers of India. London: J&A Churchill.
    Featherstone, M.1991. Consumer Culture and Postmodernism. London: Sage Publications.
    Featherstone, M. (ed.). 1997. Global Culture: Nationalism, Globalization and Modernity. London: Sage Publications.
    Featherstone, M.2002. ‘Cosmopolis: An Introduction’, Theory, Culture and Society, 19(1–2): 1–16.
    Featherstone, M.2004. ‘Automobilities: An Introduction’, Theory, Culture and Society, 21 (4–5): 1–24.
    FICCI–Yes Bank. 2008. ‘India as a Manufacturing Hub for Global Fashion and Luxury Goods’. Available online at (accessed on 3 May 2008.
    Financial Express. 2008. ‘WHO Prof Wants War on Obesity’, Financial Express, 15 May. Available online at (accessed on May 2008).
    Fine, R.2007. Cosmopolitanism. London: Routledge.
    Forevermark. 2008. Inspirations. Brochure from Forevermark, De Beers, unpaginated. Mumbai: Forevermark.
    Friedman, J.1991. ‘Consuming Desires: Strategies of Selfhood and Appropriation’, Cultural Anthropology, 6 (2): 154–63.
    Foucault, M.1994. The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception. Trans. A.M. SheridanSmith. New York: Vintage Books.
    Fox, S.2006. ‘Online Health Search 2006’. Available online at (accessed on 24 May 2008).
    Francis, J.2008. ‘Lifestyle Diseases in Developing World’, Calicut Medical Journal, 6(3). Available online at (accessed on 3 April 2009).
    Frow, J.2002. ‘Signature and Brand’, in J.Collins (ed.), High-Pop: Making Culture into Popular Entertainment, pp. 56–74. Massachusetts: Blackwell.
    Fukuyama, F.2003. Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. London: Profile.
    Gartman, D.2004. ‘Three Ages of the Automobile: The Cultural Logics of the Car’, Theory, Culture and Society, 21 (4–5): 169–95.
    Garvin, T. and J.Eyles. 1997. ‘The Sun Safety Metanarrative: Translating Science into Public Health Discourse’, Public Sciences, 30: 47–40.
    Gentleman, A.2005. ‘India's Newly Rich Battle With Obesity’, The Observer, 4 December. Available online at (accessed on 3 April 2009).
    Ger, G. and R.W.Belk. 1996. ‘I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke: Consumptionscapes of the “Less Affluent World”’, Journal of Consumer Policy, 19(1): 271–304.
    Gesler, W.M. and R.A.Kearns. 2002. Culture/Place/Health. London and New York: Routledge.
    Gibson, S.2007. ‘Food Mobilities: Traveling, Dwelling and Eating Cultures’, Space and Culture, 10(1): 4–21.
    Gilman, S.L.1988. Disease and Representation: Images of Illness from Madness to AIDS. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
    Gilman, S.L.1995. Health and Illness: Images of Difference. London: Reaktion.
    Gilman, S.L.2004. ‘The Fat Detective: Obesity and Disability’, in L.D.Friedman (ed.), Cultural Sutures: Medicine and Media, pp. 234–43. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
    Gilroy, P.2001. ‘Driving While Black’, in D.Miller (ed.), Car Cultures, pp. 81–104. Oxford: Berg.
    Glimp, D.2008. ‘Utopia and Global Risk Management’, English Literary History, 75(2): 263–90.
    Gombrich, E.H.1979 (1998). The Sense of Order: A Study in the Psychology of Decorative Art. London: Phaidon.
    Goode, E. and N.Ben-Yehuda. 1994. Moral Panics: The Social Construction of Deviance. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Griffin, P.2007. ‘Solitude’, Outlook Traveller, September, pp. 74–80. 2006. ‘Punjab Plans to Ban US Gender Determination Kit’, 3 July. Available online at (accessed on 27 May 2008).
    Gunkel, D.2000. ‘We Are Borg: Cyborgs and the Subject of Communication’, Communication Theory, 10(3): 332–57.
    Hager, T.2006. The Demon under the Microscope: From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for the World's First Miracle Drug. New York: Three Rivers.
    Hancock, P. and M. Taylor. 2004. ‘MOT Your Life’: Critical Management Studies and the Management of Everyday Life’, Human Relations, 57(5): 619–45.
    Hardt, M. and A. Negri. 2000. Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    Harris, J.G.1998. Foreign Bodies and the Body Politic: Discourses of Social Pathology in Early Modern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Hasan, A.2007a. ‘Moveable Feast: Culture Club’, Outlook Traveller, (January): 110–16.
    Hasan, A.2007b. ‘The Quiet One’, Outlook Traveller, 7(3): 66–70.
    Hayles, N.K.1999. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
    Heller, J.1970 (1961). Catch-22. New York: Corgi.
    Hello!2008. ‘Hearth of the Matter’, Hello! June.
    Haynes, D.M.2002. ‘Still the Heart of Darkness: The Ebola Virus and the Meta-Narrative of Disease in The Hot Zone’, Journal of Medical Humanities, 23(2): 133–45.
    Hearn, A.2008. ‘Insecure: Narratives and Economies of the Branded Self in Transformation Television’, Continuum, 22(4): 495–504.
    Hearn, J. and S.Roseneil (eds). 1999. Consuming Cultures: Power and Resistance. London: Macmillan.
    Hebdige, D.1990. ‘Fax to the Future’, Marxism Today, 34 (January): 1118–23.
    Heldke, L.2001. ‘“Let's Eat Chinese!”: Reflections on Cultural Food Colonialism’, Gastronomica, 1(2): 76–79.
    Henry, P.2006. ‘Magnetic Points for Lifestyle Shaping: The Contribution of Self-fulfillment, Aspirations, and Capabilities’, Qualitative Market Research, 9(2): 170–80.
    Hoerder, D.2002. Cultures in Contact: World Migrations in the Second Millennium. Durham: Duke University Press.
    Hi! Blitz. 2009. ‘Banking on Fashion’, March, 7(4): 130–34.
    Higgins, Alexander. 2008. ‘Myanmar Approves UN Aid Flight’, Associated Press, 7 May. Available online at (accessed on 9 May 2008).
    Hilton, M.2004. ‘The Legacy of Luxury: Moralities of Consumption since the 18th Century’, Journal of Consumer Culture, 4(1): 101–23.
    Hindustan Times. 2009. ‘Menus Should have Data on Calories, Nutrition’, Hindustan Times, 4 April. Available online at = RSSFeed-Lifestyle&id=a17197e4-a251-424f-b00a-a9f897c4827e&Headline=%27Menus+should+have+data+on+calories%2C+nutrition%27+ (accessed on 4 April 2009).
    Holt, D.B.1995. ‘How Consumers Consume: A Typology of Consumption Practices’, Journal of Consumer Research, 22 (June): 1–16.
    Holt, D.B.1997. ‘Poststructuralist Lifestyle Analysis: Conceptualizing the Social Patterning of Consumption in Postmodernity’, Journal of Consumer Research, 23: 326–50.
    Holt, D.B.2002. ‘Why Do Brands Cause Trouble? A Dialectical Theory of Consumer Culture and Branding’, Journal of Consumer Research, 29: 70–90.
    Horner, S. and J.Swarbrooke. 2005. Leisure Marketing: A Global Perspective. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
    Hoskins, J.2006. ‘Agency, Biography and Objects’, in C.Tilley, W.Keane and S.Kuchler (eds), Handbook of Material Culture, pp. 74–84. London: Sage Publications.
    Huisman, R.2005. ‘Advertising Narratives’, in H.Fulton, R.Huisman, K.Murphet and A.Dunn (eds), Narrative and Media, pp. 285–99. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Hunt, A.1997. ‘“Moral Panic” and Moral Language in the Media’, British Journal of Sociology, 48(4): 629–48.
    Hunt, P.1995. ‘Gender and the Construction of Home Life’, in S.Jackson and S.Moores (eds), The Politics of Domestic Consumption: Critical Readings, pp. 290–300. London: Prentice Hall-Harvester Wheatsheaf.
    Huntington, S.P.2004. Who Are We: America's Great Debate. New Delhi: Penguin.
    India Brand Equity Foundation. 2007. Young Consumer, July—September. Available online at (accessed on 6 June 2008).
    Indian Television. 2006. ‘Abhishek Bachchan to Endorse American Express’, 8 November. Available online at (accessed on 22 August 2008).
    Intergovernmmental Panel on Climate Change. 2001. Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    ICFAI Centre for Management Research. 2006. Case Studies in Marketing Communications. Hyderabad: ICFAI Centre for Management Research.
    Iversen, L.2006. Drugs: A Very Short Introduction. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
    Iyer, P.2000. The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls and the Search for Home. London: Bloomsbury.
    Jackson, F.L.1999. ‘African-American Responses to the Human Genome Project’, Public Understanding of Science, 8(3): 181–91.
    Jackson, F.L.2001. ‘The Human Genome Project and the African American Community: Race, Diversity, and American Science’, in R.A.Zilinskas and P.J.Balint (eds), The Human Genome Project and Minority Communities: Ethical, Social, and Political Dilemmas, pp. 35–52. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.
    Jackson, P.2004. ‘Local Consumption Cultures in a Globalizing World’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 29: 165–78.
    Jackson, S. and S.Moores (eds). 1995. The Politics of Domestic Consumption: Critical Readings. London: Prentice Hall-Harvester Wheatsheaf.
    Jackson, T. and C.Haid. 2006. ‘Global Luxury Brands’, in T.Jackson and D.Shaw (eds), The Fashion Handbook, pp. 57–82. London and New York: Routledge.
    Jain, S.2002. ‘Urban Errands: The Means of Mobility’, Journal of Consumer Culture, 2(3): 385–404.
    Jardine, L.1996. Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance. London: Macmillan.
    Jenks, C.2005. Subculture: The Fragmentation of the Social. London: Sage Publications.
    Joffe, H.1999. Risk and the ‘Other’. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    John, S.2008. ‘Beyond Tikka Masala’, Span, May/June, pp. 40–44.
    Karthikeyan, A.2008. ‘Heritage and a Holiday’, The Hindu, Metro Plus, Hyderabad, 28 February, p. 4.
    Katz, J.E. and Aakhus, M.A.2002. ‘Conclusion: Making Meaning of Mobiles — A Theory of Apparatgeist’, in J.E.Katz and M.A.Aakhus (eds), Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communication, Private Talk, Public Performance, pp. 301–18. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Keller, E.F.2000. The Century of the Gene. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    Anonymous. 2000. Killer Diseases. New Lanark, Scotland: Geddes & Grosset.
    Kinchloe, J.L.2002. The Sign of the Burger: McDonald's and the Culture of Power. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
    Kivits, J.2004. ‘Researching the “Informed Patient”’, Information, Communication and Society, 7 (4): 510–30.
    Klein, N.2000. No Logo. London: Flamingo.
    Kumar, R.2007. ‘Tastes that Travel’, The Hindu, Metro Plus Delhi, 24 February. Available online at (12 June 2008).
    Kurian, A.2009. ‘Going Places: Tourism Writing in India’, in K.M.Gokulsing and W.Dissanayake (eds), Popular Culture in a Globalized India, pp. 252–63. London and New York: Routledge.
    Lake, J.2009. ‘The Development of Surveillance and Screening for Childhood Obesity in the UK’, Critical Public Health, 19(1): 3–10.
    Landau, J., C.R.Groscurth, L.Wright and C.M.Condit. 2009. ‘Visualizing Nanotechnology: The Impact of Visual Images on Lay American Audience Associations with Nanotechnology’, Public Understanding of Science, 18(3): 325–37.
    Langer, B.2004. ‘The Business of Branded Enchantment: Ambivalence and Disjuncture in the Global Children's Culture Industry’, Journal of Consumer Culture, 4(2): 251–77.
    Lash, S. and J.Urry. 1994. Economies of Sign and Space. London: Sage Publications.
    Latour. B.1988. Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    Lavakare, A.2007. ‘Today's India has a New Culture’, 25 April. Available online at (accessed on 15 September 2007).
    Lawrence, R.G.2004. ‘Framing Obesity: The Evolution of a Discourse on a Public Health Issue’, Working Papers Series, Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. Available online at (accessed on 3 April 2008).
    Lawrence, S. and K.Bendixen. 1992. ‘His and Hers: Male and Female Anatomy in Anatomy Texts for US Medical Students’, Social Science and Medicine, 35(7): 925–33.
    Lee, M.1993. Consumer Culture Reborn: The Cultural Politics of Consumption. New York: Routledge.
    Lindenbaum, S. and M.Lock. 1993. Knowledge, Power and Practice: The Anthropology of Medicine and Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press.
    Livingstone, S.2003. Young People and New Media: Childhood and the Changing Media Environment. London: Sage Publications.
    Livingstone, S.2008. ‘“Taking Risky Opportunities in Youthful Content Creation: Teenagers” Use of Social Networking Sites for Intimacy, Privacy and Self-Expression’, New Media Society, 10(3): 393–411.
    Loader, I.1999. ‘Consumer Culture and the Commodification of Policing and Security’, Sociology, 33(2): 373–92.
    Locher, J., W.Yoels, D.Maurer and J.Ells. 2005. ‘Comfort Foods: An Exploratory Journey in the Social and Emotional Significance of Food’, Food and Foodways, 13(4): 273–97.
    Long, T.L.2005. AIDS and American Apocalypticism: The Cultural Semiotics of an Epidemic. Albany: State University of New York Press.
    Lukose, R.2005. ‘Consuming Globalization: Youth and Gender in Kerala, India’, Journal of Social History, 38(4): 915–35.
    Lupton, D.1995. The Imperative of Health: Public Health and the Regulated Body. London: Sage Publications.
    Lupton, D.1999. Risk. London: Routledge.
    Maguire, J.S. and J.Stanway. 2008. ‘Looking Good: Consumption and the Problems of Self-Production’, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 11(1): 63–81.
    Makoul, G. and L.Peer. 2004. ‘Dissecting the Doctor Shows: A Content Analysis of ER and Chicago Hope’, in L.D.Friedman (ed.), Cultural Sutures: Medicine and Media, pp. 244–60. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
    Maldonado, T.1991. ‘The Idea of Comfort’, Design History, 8(1): 35–43.
    Malone, R.E.1999. ‘Policy as Product: Morality and Metaphor in Health Policy Discourse’, Hastings Center Report, 29(3): 16–22.
    Mansharamani, A. and S.Khanna. undated. ‘Marketing of Luxury Brands’. Available online at (accessed on 22 August 2008).
    Maps of India. 2007. Available online at (accessed on 15 March 2007).
    Marie Claire. 2008. ‘Bare-faced Chic’, April 2008, pp. 142–47.
    Martin, J.R.1837. Notes on the Medical Topography of Calcutta. Calcutta: GH Huttman.
    Martin, E.1990. ‘Towards an Anthropology of Immunology: The Body as Nation-State’, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 4(4): 410–26.
    Masuda, J.R. and T.Garvin. 2006. ‘Place, Culture, and the Social Amplification of Risk’, Risk Analysis, 26(2): 437–54.
    McBride, A.2005. ‘Have Your Coke and Eat it Too: What Cooking with Coca-Cola Says about Cultural Imperialism’, Gastronomica, 5(1): 80–87.
    McGuire, B.2002. Global Catastrophes: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    McNeil, Jr. D.2002. ‘Global War Against AIDS Runs Short of Vital Weapon: Donated Condoms’, New York Times, 9 October. Available online at C8B63 (accessed on 30 May 2008). 2005. ‘War against Cancer Continues’, 25 December. Available online at = 6601 (accessed on 27 May 2008).
    Menon, M.2008. ‘Raj Thackeray Back at Bashing’, The Hindu, 4 May. Available online at (accessed on 9 May 2008).
    Merriman, P.2004. ‘Driving Places: Marc Augé, Non-Places, and the Geographies of England's M1 Motorway’, Theory, Culture and Society, 21(4–5): 145–67.
    Miah, A. 2008. Human Futures: Art in an Age of Uncertainty. Liverpool: Foundation for Art and Creative Technology and Liverpool University Press.
    Miah, A. and E.Rich. 2008. The Medicalization of Cyberspace. London and New York: Routledge.
    Miller, D.1987. Material Culture and Mass Consumption. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
    Miller, D.2001a. ‘The Poverty of Morality’, Journal of Consumer Culture, 1(2): 225–43.
    Miller, D. (ed.). 2001b. Car Cultures. Oxford and New York: Berg.
    Miller, P. and N.Rose. 1997. ‘Mobilising the Consumer: Assembling the Subject of Consumption’, Theory, Culture and Society, 14 (1): 1–36.
    Mitchell, W.J.2003. Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City. Cambridge, MA: MIT.
    Moeller, Susan.1999. Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, War and Death. London and New York: Routledge.
    Molz, J.G.2006. ‘Cosmopolitan Bodies: Fit to Travel and Travelling to Fit’, Body and Society, 12(3): 1–21.
    Money, A.2007. ‘Material Culture and the Living Room: The Appropriation and Use of Goods in Everyday Life’, Journal of Consumer Culture, 7(3): 355–77.
    Montgomery, S.1991. ‘Codes and Combat in Bio-medical Discourse’, Science as Culture, 2.3(12): 341–91.
    Moulting, N.T.2007. ‘“Love Your Body, Move Your Body, Feed Your Body”: Discourses of Self-care and Social Marketing in a Body Image Health Promotion Program’, Critical Public Health, 17(1): 57–69.
    Mudur, G.2003. ‘Asia Grapples with Obesity Epidemics’, British Medical Journal, 326(515). Available online at (accessed on 10 May 2008).
    Musso, E. and S.E.L.Wakefield. 2009. ‘“Tales of Mind Over Cancer”: Cancer Risk and Prevention in the Canadian Print Media’, Health, Risk and Society, 11(1): 17–38.
    Muthalaly, S.2007. ‘Weekend Getaway’, The Hindu, The Hindu Magazine, 19 August, p. 7.
    Nadkarni, R.2007. ‘A Foodie's Guide to Singapore’, Deccan Chronicle, 18 November, p. 5.
    Nambiar, S.2008. ‘Corporate Wellness’, The Hindu, Sunday Magazine, 24 August, p. 6.
    Narasimhan, R.2008. ‘To Breathe Fire’, The Hindu, The Hindu Magazine, 1 June, p. 6.
    Narumi, H.2000. ‘Fashion Orientalism and the Limits of Counter Culture’, Post-colonial Studies, 3(3): 311–29.
    Nath, A.G.2008. ‘Cutting Edge Design’, Inside/Outside, August, pp. 120–30.
    National Family Health Survey. 2006. ‘Volume I, Summary of Findings, xl’. Available online at (accessed on 10 May 2008).
    Nayar, P.K.2006. ‘The Rhetoric of Biocolonialism: Genomic Projects, Culture and the New Racisms’, Journal of Contemporary Thought, 24: 131–48.
    Nayar, P.K.2008a. ‘The Male Order Catalogue: Constructions of Masculinity in Men's Magazines’, Paper presented at National Seminar on ‘Representations of Gender in Popular Literature and Film’, Sophia College, Mumbai, January 2008.
    Nayar, P.K.2008b. An Introduction to Cultural Studies. New Delhi: Viva.
    Nayar, P.K.2008c. ‘The Antibiotic Imagination: Writing Disease in Contemporary America’, ICFAI University Journal of American Literature, 1(1): 67–82.
    Nayar, P.K.2009a. ‘India Goes to the Blogs: Cyberspace, Identity, Community’, in K.M.Gokulsing and W.Dissanayake (eds), Popular Culture in a Globalised India, pp. 207–22. London and New York: Routledge.
    Nayar, P.K.2009b. Seeing Stars: Spectacle, Society and Celebrity Culture. New Delhi: Sage Publications.
    Nayar, P.K. Forthcoming. ‘Object Protocols: The “Materials” of the Early English Encounter with India’, in W.S-HLim and D.Johanayak (eds), The English Renaissance, Orientalism, and the Idea of Asia. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Nelkin, D. and M.S.Lindee. 1995. The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon. New York: Freeman and Company.
    Nettleton, S.2006. The Sociology of Health and Illness.
    2nd edition
    . Cambridge: Polity.
    Neuhaus, J.1999. ‘The Way to a Man's Heart: Gender Roles, Domestic Ideology, and Cookbooks in the 1950s’, Journal of Social History, 32(3): 529–55.
    Newlyn, A.1999. ‘Challenging Contemporary Narrative Theory: The Alternative Textual Strategies of Nineteenth-Century Manuscript Cookbooks’, Journal of American Culture, 22(3): 35–47.
    Office of Technology Assessment. 1979. ‘The Effects of Nuclear War’. Washington: Office of Technology Assessment—Congress of the United States. Available online at (accessed on 28 May 2008).
    Ong, A.2003. Buddha is Hiding: Refugees, Citizenship, the New America. Berkeley and London: University of California Press.
    Ostherr, K.2004. ‘“Invisible Invaders”: The Global Body in Public Health Films’, in L.Friedman (ed.), Cultural Sutures: Medicine and Media, pp. 299–314. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
    Outlook Traveller. 2007. ‘United India Insurance’, Outlook Traveller, 7(4): 74.
    Palsson, G.2007. Anthropology and the New Genetics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Pandey, S. and R.Kain. 2007. ‘School Shootout Leaves Gurgaon Horrorstruck’. Available online at (accessed on 9 May 2008).
    Parsons, T.1951. The Social System. New York: The Free Press.
    Parthasarathy, A.2008. ‘How Touching! New iPhone's Here’, The Hindu, 23 August, p. 13.
    Patel, S.2003. ‘Bombay and Mumbai: Identities, Politics, and Populism’, in S.Patel and J.Masselos (eds), Bombay and Mumbai: The City in Transition, pp. 3–30. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
    Peck, L.L.2005. Consuming Splendor: Society and Culture in Seventeenth-Century England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Pillai, M.D.2007. ‘Postcard from Nice: The Flavours of the Riviera’, The Hindu, The Hindu Magazine, 23 September, p. 8.
    Podder, T.2008. ‘Mad about Macau’, The Hindu, The Hindu Magazine, 3 February, p. 8.
    Pollock, S., H.K.Bhabha, C.A.Breckenridge and D.Chakrabarty. 2000. ‘Cosmopolitanisms’, Public Culture, 12(3): 577–89.
    Polsky, A.D.2002. ‘Blood, Race, and National Identity: Scientific and Popular Discourses’, Journal of Medical Humanities, 23(3/4): 171–86.
    Poon, P.N.2000. ‘Evolution of the Clonal Man: Inventing Science Unfiction’, Journal of Medical Humanities, 21(3): 159–73.
    Porter, R.1997. Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present. London: HarperCollins.
    Poster, M.1995. ‘Postmodern Virtualities’, Body & Society, 1(3–4): 79–95.
    Pountain, D. and D.Robins. 2000. Cool Rules: Anatomy of an Attitude. London: Reaktion.
    Pradeep, K.2006. ‘Young Blood Not Raring to Vote’, Metro Plus (Kochi), The Hindu, 20 April. Available online at (accessed on 7 June 2008).
    Prasad, R.2007. ‘Witch Hunt’, The Guardian, 21 March. Available online at (accessed on 9 May 2008).
    Preston, Richard.1995. The Hot Zone. New York: Anchor.
    Proctor, R.N.1995. Cancer Wars: How Politics Shapes What We Know and Don't Know about Cancer. New York: Basic.
    Raj, N.G.2009. ‘Seeking the Origins of Chikungunya Virus’, The Hindu, 16 March. Available online at (accessed on 16 April 2009).
    Ramappa, T.2009. ‘Tying Up Legal Loose Ends’, The Hindu, The Hindu Magazine, 4 April, p. 4.
    Rao, S.2007. ‘Postcard from Cairo: Heady Cocktail’, The Hindu, The Hindu Magazine, 28 September, p. 7. 2006. ‘Indian Millionaires’ Club Expanding Fast’, 21 September. Available online at (accessed on 22 August 2008).
    Ridley, M.2000. Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. New York: Harper Perennial.
    Ritzer, G.1999. Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.
    Robertson, A.2001. ‘Biotechnology, Political Rationality and Discourses on Health Risk’, Health, 5(3): 293–309.
    Roof, J.2007. The Poetics of DNA. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.
    Rook, D.1985. ‘The Ritual Dimension of Consumer Behavior’, Journal of Consumer Research, 12: 251–64.
    Rushdie, S.1996. The Moor's Last Sigh. London: Vintage.
    Rushdie, S.2002. ‘Step Across This Line’, in S.Rushdie, Step Across This Line: Collected Non-Fiction 1992–2002, pp. 407–42. London: Vintage.
    Sassatelli, R.2007. Consumer Culture: History, Theory and Politics. London: Sage Publications.
    Sayre, S. and C.King. 2003. Entertainment and Society: Audiences, Trends, and Impact. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
    Schmidt, K. and C.Ludlow. 2002. Inclusive Branding: The Why and How of a Holistic Approach to Brands. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Schulz, J.2006. ‘Vehicle of the Self: The Social and Cultural Work of the H2 Hummer’, Journal of Consumer Culture, 6(1): 57–86.
    Schuman, M.2003. ‘Hey Big Spenders’, Time, 25 August.
    Scott, A.J.2001. ‘Capitalism, Cities, and the Production of Symbolic Forms’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, 26: 11–23.
    Sekora, J.1977. Luxury: The Concept in Western Thought: Eden to Smollett. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
    Senapaty, S.2006. ‘Austria's Big 3’, Taste and Travel, 3(2): 72–77.
    Shakespeare, W.1974. ‘The Merchant of Venice’, in G. BlakemoreEvans (ed.), The Riverside Shakespeare, III. ii. p. 74. Boston: Houghton Miffin.
    Shariff, F.2003. ‘Be Indian, Undermine the Indian Team’, 4 April. Available online at (accessed on 2 June 2008).
    Sharma, K.2007. ‘“Gendered” Health’, The Hindu, Magazine, 22 April 2007. Available online at (accessed on 29 May 2008).
    Sheller, M.2004. ‘Automotive Emotions: Feeling the Car’, Theory, Culture and Society, 21(4–5): 221–42.
    Sheller, M. and J.Urry. 2000. ‘The City and the Car’, Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 24: 737–57.
    Sheller, M. and J.Urry. 2003. ‘Mobile Transformations of “Public” and “Private” Life’, Theory, Culture and Society, 20(3): 107–25.
    Shilling, C.1993. The Body in Social Theory. London: Sage Publications.
    Silverstone, R. and L.Haddon. 1996. ‘Design and the Domestication of Information and Communication Technologies: Technical Change and Everyday Life’, in R.Mansell and R.Silverstone (eds), Communication by Design: The Politics of Information and Communication Technologies, pp. 44–74. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Sjöberg, L. and A.A.Wåhlberg. 2002. ‘Risk Perception and New Age Beliefs’, Risk Analysis, 22(4): 751–64.
    Sontag, S.1990. Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors. New York: Anchor-Doubleday.
    Speer, T. and J.Lewis. 2004. ‘Journalists and Jabs: Media Coverage of the MMR Vaccine’, Communication and Medicine, 1(2): 171–81.
    Stabile, C.1998. ‘Shooting the Mother: Fetal Photography and the Politics of Disappearance’, in P.A.Treichler, L.Cartwright and C.Penley (eds), The Visible Woman: Imaging Technologies, Gender, and Science, pp. 171–97. New York and London: New York University Press.
    Stacey, J.2007. ‘With Stars in their Eyes: Female Spectators and the Paradoxes of Consumption’, in S.Holmes and S.Redmond (eds), Stardom and Celebrity: A Reader, pp. 313—25. London: Sage Publications.
    Stallings, R.A.1990. ‘Media Discourse and the Social Construction of Risk’, Social Problem, 37(1): 80–95.
    Stewart, S.1984. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
    Suranyi, A.2006. ‘Seventeenth-century English Travel Literature and the Significance of Foreign Foodways’, Food and Foodways, 14(3–4): 123–49.
    Suri, B.2007. ‘Hotels’, Outlook Traveller, 7(12): 41.
    Takacs, S.2009. ‘Monsters, Monsters Everywhere: Spooky TV and the Politics of Fear in Post-9/11 America’, Science Fiction Studies, 36(1): 1–20.
    Thacker, E.2005. The Global Genome: Biotechnology, Politics, and Culture. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
    The Economic Times. 2009. ‘68% Working Women Suffer from Lifestyle Diseases: Assocham’, The Economic Times, 7 March. Available online at (accessed on 3 April 2009).
    The Hindu. 2006. ‘Parking Problems Aplenty at High Court’, The Hindu, 23 November. Available online at (accessed on 6 June 2008).
    The Hindu. 8 March 2007. Opinion—Letters to the Editor, The Hindu, 8 March. Available online at (accessed 15 September 2007).
    The Hindu. 28 March 2007. ‘Reflections on the Rave Party’, The Hindu, Metro Plus, Hyderabad, 28 March. Available online at (accessed on 15 September 2007).
    The Hindu. 14 September 2007. ‘Underground Parking Plan Shelved’, The Hindu, 14 September. Available online at (accessed on 6 June 2008).
    The Hindu. 13 December 2007. ‘Shocking’, Opinion—Letters to the Editor, The Hindu, 13 December. Available online at on on 9 May 2008).
    The Hindu. 14 December 2007a. ‘Guns and Campus Rage’, Opinion—Letters to the Editor, The Hindu, 14 December. Available online at (accessed on 9 May 2008).
    The Hindu. 14 December 2007b. ‘Unfortunate’, Opinion—Letters to the Editor, The Hindu, 14 December. Available online at on 9 May 2008).
    The Hindu. 4 May 2008. ‘Rising Global Food Prices also due to India's Prosperity: Bush’, 4 May. Available online at (accessed on 8 May 2008).
    The Hindu. 8 May 2008. ‘CPI (M) Calls for Nationwide Protest against Price Rise’, The Hindu, 8 May 2008, p. 13.
    The Hindu. 2008. ‘Tackling Risk’, The Hindu, 4 June 2008, p. 3.
    The Hindu. 2009. ‘I Am Like a Left-handed Batsman’, The Hindu, 24 March. Available online at (accessed on 2 April 2009).
    The Hindu. 5 April 2009. Alone and Vulnerable’, The Hindu Magazine, The Hindu, 5 April, p. 1.
    The Hindu. 11 April 2009. ‘Cobbler Books Nano’, The Hindu, 11 April. Available online at (24 April 2009).
    The Hindu Business Line. 2007. ‘Hotels Without Parking Space Face Closure Threat in Hyderabad’, The Hindu Business Line, 21 September. Available online at (accessed on 6 June 2008).
    The Hindu Business Line. 2008. ‘India Set to Become Hub for Luxury Brands’, 28 July. Available online at (accessed on 17 August 2008).
    The New Zealand Herald. 2008. AIDS Threat in India's Call Centres’, The New Zealand Herald 23 June. Available online at (accessed on 3 April 2009).
    The Telegraph. 2008. ‘Tata Nano: The People's Car’, The Telegraph, 12 January. Available online at (accessed on 6 June 2008).
    The Times of India. 2007. ‘Himalayan Meltdown Catastrophic for India’, The Times of India, 3 April. Available online at (accessed on 8 May 2008).
    The Tribune. 2003. ‘Growing AIDS Threat’, Editorial headline, The Tribune, 4 July. Available online at (accessed on 8 May 2008).
    The Tribune. 2008. ‘Political Parties Continue Anti-Bush Tirade’The Tribune, 5 May. Available online at (accessed on 8 May 2008).
    The Week. 2009. ‘Safe and Sound’, The Week, 22 March, pp. 54–58.
    Thieme, J. and I.Raja. (eds). 2007. The Table is Laid: The Oxford Book of South Asian Food Writing. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
    Thomas, N.1994. Colonialisms Culture: Anthropology, Travel and Government. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
    Thompson, C.J. and E.C.Hirschman. 1995. ‘Understanding the Socialized Body: A Poststructuralist Analysis of Consumers’ Self-Conceptions, Body Images, and Self-Care Practices’, Journal of Consumer Research, 22: 139–53.
    Thornborrow, J.1998. ‘Playing Hard to Get: Metaphor and Representation in the Discourse of Car Advertisements’, Language and Literature, 7(3): 254–72.
    Thrift, N.2004. Automobilities: An Introduction’, Theory, Culture and Society, 21 (4–5): 41–59.
    Todorov, T.1975. The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre. Trans. RichardHoward. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
    Treichler, P., P.Cartwright and C.Penley (eds). 1998. The Visible Woman: Imaging Technologies, Gender, and Science. New York: New York University Press.
    Treichler, P.A.1999. How to Have Theory in an Epidemic: Cultural Chronicles of AIDS. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
    Turner, B.S.1987. Medical Power and Social Knowledge. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
    Turner, B.S.1999. The Body and Society: Explorations in Social Theory.
    2nd edition
    . London: Sage Publications.
    Twitchell, J.B.2001. Living it Up: Our Love Affair with Luxury. New York: Columbia University Press.
    Twitchell, J.B.2004. Branded Nation: The Marketing of Megachurch, College Inc., and Museumworld. New York: Simon and Schuster.
    Tulloch, J. and D.Lupton (eds). 2003. Risk and Everyday Life. London: Sage Publications.
    Urry, J.2000. Sociology beyond Societies: Mobilities for the Next Century. London and New York: Routledge.
    Ursano, R.J., A.E.Norwood and C.S.Fullerton. 2004. Bioterrorism: Psychological and Public Health Interventions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    van Dijck, J.2002. ‘Medical Documentary: Conjoined Twins as a Mediated Spectacle’, Media, Culture & Society, 24(4): 537–56.
    Van Eijck, K. and H.Mommaas. 2004. ‘Leisure, Lifestyle and the New Middle Class’, Leisure Sciences, 26 (4): 373–92.
    Van Loon, J.2002. Risk and Technological Culture: Towards a Sociology of Virulence. London and New York: Routledge.
    Venkat, A.2007. ‘Zicom Rides Demand for Home Security Systems’. The Hindu Business Line, 28 May. Available online at (accessed on 6 June 2008).
    Virilio, P.1994. The Vision Machine. Trans. JulieRose. Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press.
    Virilio, P.1995. ‘Speed and Information: Cyberspace Alarm’. Available online at (accessed on 5 April 2009).
    Wadhwa, S.2003. ‘160/99’, Outlook, 11 August.
    Waldby, C.1996. AIDS and the Body Politic: Biomedicine and Sexual Difference. London and New York: Routledge.
    Warrier, S.2006. ‘At Ground Zero of India's War on AIDS’, Rediff News, 9 August. Available online at (accessed on 30 May 2008).
    Waters, M.1996. Globalization. London: Routledge.
    Werbner, P.1999. ‘Global Pathways: Working Class Cosmopolitans and the Creation of Transnational Ethnic Worlds’, Social Anthropology, 7(1): 17–35.
    Werbner, P.2006. ‘Vernacular Cosmopolitanism’, Theory, Culture and Society, 23(2–3): 496–98.
    Wernick, A.1991. Promotional Culture. London: Sage Publications.
    White, H.1978. Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
    Wilk, R.2001. ‘Consuming Morality’, Journal of Consumer Culture, 1(2): 245–60.
    Wilkie, T.1993. Perilous Knowledge: The Human Genome Project and its Implications. Berkeley: University of California Press.
    Williams, R.1961. The Long Revolution. London: Chatto and Windus.
    Williams, R.1996. ‘Advertising: The Magic System’, in P.Marris and S.Thornham (eds), Media Studies: A Reader, pp. 461–65. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
    Williams, S.J.2003. Medicine and the Body. London: Sage Publications.
    Williamson, D. and J.Carr. 2009. ‘Health as a Resource for Everyday Life: Advancing the Conceptualization’, Critical Public Health, 19(1): 107–22.
    Woodward, I.2003. ‘Divergent Narratives in the Imagining of the Home Amongst Middleclass Consumers: Aesthetics, Comfort and the Symbolic Boundaries of Self and Home’, Journal of Sociology, 39(4): 391–412.
    Young, K.1997. Presence in the Flesh: The Body in Medicine. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
    Zafar, R.1999. ‘The Signifying Dish: Autobiography and History in Two Black Women's Cookbooks’, Feminist Studies, 25(2): 449–69.
    Zilinskas, RA. and P.J.Balint (eds). 2001. The Human Genome Project and Minority Communities: Ethical, Social, and Political Dilemmas. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.

    About the Author

    Pramod K. Nayar was Smuts Visiting Fellow in Commonwealth Studies, University of Cambridge (2000–2001), the UK, the Charles Wallace India Trust-British Council Fellow, University of Kent at Canterbury, the UK (2001) and Fulbright Senior Fellow, Cornell University, USA (2005–06). Some of his most recent books include Seeing Stars: Spectacle, Society and Celebrity Culture (SAGE 2009), An Introduction to Cultural Studies (2008), Postcolonial Literature: An Introduction (2008), English Writing and India, 1600–1920: Colonizing Aesthetics (2008), Reading Culture: Theory, Praxis, Politics (SAGE 2006) and Virtual Worlds: Culture and Politics in the Age of Cybertechnology (SAGE 2004) besides books on the 1857 ‘Mutiny’, English Literature and Literary Theory. Forthcoming are book-length works on cyberculture and new media, a popular history of the Raj and postcolonialism.

    • Loading...
Back to Top