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Thomas Hylland Eriksen

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Keeping the recipe

Norwegian folk costumes and cultural capital

Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Enlisting culture in the service of commercial or political interests inevitably leads to a simplification and standardization of form. This article addresses the tensions between these standardizing processes and discourses of cultural authenticity, raising questions concerning copyright to cultural products and, more widely, the economics of cultural tradition. Empirically, the article is a study of the Norwegian bunad, a folk dress which exists in numerous regional varieties and carries a profound symbolic significance as a marker of regional and national identity. However, the authenticity of particular bunads or other folk costumes is often hotly contested. At the same time, entrepreneurs have begun to produce bunads in low-cost countries, thereby violating a principle considered by many as sacred, that bunads should be sewn by local women. The article reveals what is at stake for the various actors involved, and suggests some comparisons.

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Sarah J. Mahler, Jeffrey A. Sluka, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Charlotte Loris-Rodionoff and Katherine Swancutt

Christian Krohn-Hansen, Making New York Dominican: Small Business, Politics, and Everyday Life (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), 312 pp. ISBN 9780812244618.

David Pedersen, American Value: Migrants, Money, and Meaning in El Salvador and the United States (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 304 pp. ISBN 9780226653396.

Simon Harrison, Dark Trophies: Hunting and the Enemy Body in Modern War (New York: Berghahn Books, 2012), 196 pp. ISBN 9780857454980.

Christoph Wulf, Anthropology: A Continental Perspective, trans. Deirdre Winter, Elizabeth Hamilton, Margitta Rouse, and Richard J. Rouse (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 408 pp. ISBN 9780226925066.

Peter Geschiere, Witchcraft, Intimacy, and Trust: Africa in Comparison (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 328 pp. ISBN 9780226047614.

Rane Willerslev, On the Run in Siberia, trans. Coilín ÓhAiseadha (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 216 pp. ISBN 9780816676279.

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Catherine Alexander, Veronica E. Aplenc, August Carbonella, Zaindi Choltaev, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Paola Filippucci, Christian Giordano, Caroline Humphrey, Deema Kaneff, Alexander D. King, Silke von Lewinski, Michaela Pohl, Hermann Rebel and Zala Volčič

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