Consumer Culture in Latin America

Latin America, the region including Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America, is undergoing rapid changes in consumer-based identities, consumption practices, and material culture. Over time, its peoples have developed “hybrid” consumer cultures combining European, North American, indigenous, and African goods, rituals, and attitudes and reflecting the region's political and economic subordination to Europe and the United States. Scholarship on consumer culture in Latin America began in earnest in the 1980s, though observations regarding consumers appeared earlier. The region is of interest because it evidences patterns found in wealthy countries—individualization, ownership concentration in the media industry, modern retail formats, and consumers' quest for authentic experiences—while retaining its distinct cultures and history. The region's history and consumption patterns are reviewed alongside the case of Chile, ...

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