Cultures of Commodity Branding
UCL's CENTRE FOR MUSEUMS, HERITAGE AND MATERIAL CULTURE STUDIES hosts conference on Cultures of Commodity Branding
On May 10th and 11th 2008 the Centre co-sponsored an international conference bringing together archaeologists, anthropologists and experts on business and marketing around the topic: ‘Cultures of Commodity Branding’. The purpose of the meeting was to explore the robustness of branding as an analytical concept outside the confines of Western capitalism, and across a wide range of cultural contexts from prehistory to the present day.
A catalyst for this conference, which was also sponsored by the British Academy and the Institute of Archaeology at UCL, was the recent Current Anthropology paper by one of our Steering Committee members, David Wengrow: ‘Prehistories of commodity branding’, as reported in the pages of New Scientist.
Among the days’ presentations were:
‘New Citizens, new commodities: commodity branding in the Soviet Union and Turkey in 1920-1940’, by Olga Kravets and Özlem Sandikçi (Bilkent University Business School, Turkey)
‘Sacred commodities: the Mesopotamian origins of branding’, by David Wengrow (UCL Institute of Archaeology)
‘Brands as agents of political change? The case of Patagonia’, by Douglas Holt (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford)
‘Second-hand brand values and on-line auction’, by Alison Clarke (University of Applied Arts, Vienna)
‘Historical and contemporary forms of branding in the Oriental carpet trade’, by Fabian Csaba (Copenhagen Business School) and Güliz Ger (Bilkent University)
‘The Real One. Western brands and competing notions of authenticity in Socialist Hungary’, by Ferenc Hammer (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest)
‘Branded cosmetics and the techniques of the body, the self and power in West Cameroon’, by Jean-Pierre Warnier (Centre d’Etudes Africaines, Paris)
‘Making and marking social relationships: Bronze Age brandings for key Mediterranean commodities’, by Andrew Bevan (Institute of Archaeology, UCL)
‘I am an imitasyoncu: reflecting on the paradoxes of multiplying brands in Istanbul’, by Magda Craciun (Department of Anthropology, UCL)
And: ‘The strange sources of brand magic: examples from the world of nineteenth century colonial Atlantic commerce’, by Rick Wilk (Department of Anthropology and Gender Studies, Indiana University)
David Wengrow and Andrew Bevan of the Institute of Archaeology at UCL are currently working on an edited publication which will present and develop the main points arising from the conference, and should be of interest to anthropologists, archaeology, culture theorists, art historians, and to a wide range of professionals working in the marketing sector.