Title: Shampoo in China: Development, Consumerism and Modernity
Speaker: Joseph Bosco
(Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Time: Thursday, 12 December, 2013 7:00 p.m.
Venue: Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, Hong Kong Museum of History, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Free! All are welcome! (Space, however, is limited to 139 seats)
The lecture is conducted in English
This talk seeks to understand consumerism by examining the rapid adoption of shampoo in China since 1979. Before the economic reforms, the same bar soap used for laundry was used for washing the body and hair, and it was rationed. In the 1980s, many domestic soap and shampoo brands emerged, but after 1986, products made by multinational companies became popular. Many consumer advocates in the West have argued that the quality differences between different brands are slight. Yet some “foreign” brands (made in China) cost three times or more than local brands. Why are people willing to pay a premium for fancy soap and shampoo, when in most cases only the user knows what type of soap he/she has used? Why pay more when most consumers cannot tell the difference? What images and ideals are consumers buying with each bar or bottle? What does the rapid adoption of shampoo in China tell us about consumerism and the prospects for sustainable development?
Following the talk, you are invited to a self-paying dinner with the speaker.
For more information please contact Stan Dyer on 9746 9537
*The museum makes no representations on the content of this lecture.