Durham, D. 1995. “The Lady in the Logo: Tribal Dress and Western Culture in a Southern African Community.”

Durham, Deborah. 1995. “The Lady in the Logo: Tribal Dress and Western Culture in a Southern African Community.” Pp. 183- 194 in Dress and Ethnicity: Change Across Space and Time, edited by Joanne B. Eicher. Washington D.C.: Berg.

“The notion of a tradition, or a traditional form, is a loaded one in contemporary western discourse, gaining its full meaning through opposition to a particularly construed modernity, to modernism and more recently to post-modern conditions.  In some senses, ‘traditional’ is an adjective used to characterize others, whether within or distant from western civilization.  ‘Modern’ then characterizes us, so that non-western cultures and marginal areas of the west are said to modernize as they discard local practices and adapt and appropriate western forms” (188) – BUT! Not just a dichotomy of modern/non-!

Hobsbawm and Ranger (1983): “invented traditions” – produced in “the contrast between the constant change and innovation of the modern world and the attempt to structure at least some parts of social life within it as unchanging and variant” (2, here 189) – traditions come to represent that which is static, unfaltering, impervious to change despite wider adaptation (kx^ – can the same be said for constructs of authenticity?  I really don’t think so, as authenticity responds dynamically to ever imposed boundary threats?)

By incorporating logos or other elements of worlds outside the “traditional,” ethnic dress may maintain its claims to authenticity and tradition, but demonstrate response to contemporary social conditions.


Hobsbawm, E. and T. Ranger (eds.). 1983. The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


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