Recycling Indian Clothing

Recycling Indian Clothing

Global Contexts of Reuse and Value
Lucy Norris
Distribution: World
Publication date: 6/25/2010
Format: paper 256 pages, 16 color illus., 7 b&w illus.
6 x 9 x .6875
ISBN: 978-0-253-22208-4
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In today's globally connected marketplace, a wedding sari in rural north India may become a woman's blouse or cushion cover in a Western boutique. Lucy Norris’s anthropological study of the recycling of clothes in Delhi follows garments as they are gifted, worn, handed on, discarded, recycled, and sold once more. Gifts of clothing are used to make and break relationships within middle-class households, but a growing surplus of unwanted clothing now contributes to a global glut of textile waste. When old clothing is, for instance, bartered for new kitchen utensils, it enters a vast waste commodity system in which it may be resold to the poor or remade into new textiles and exported. Norris traces these local and transnational flows through homes and markets as she tells the stories of the people who work in the largely hidden world of fabric recycling.

Author Bio

Lucy Norris is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at University College London. She is author (with Michael Hitchcock) of Bali, The Imaginary Museum: The Photographs of Walter Spies and Beryl de Zoete.


"The information is highly researched, referenced, and footnoted, but presented as a series of stories that make the topic more engaging." —AATCC Review , November/December 2010

"Norris succeeds in opening up for scholarly discussion an important new area of textile and South Asian studies, and produces a text that will be enjoyed across disciplines by students and scholars interested in global practices of recycling and the circulation of material culture." —
Cultural Analysis

"Throughout the book, the writing remains clear and accessible, full of textured descriptions which seem to recreate the streets of Delhi. It is sure to inform specialists in the anthropology of consumption and globalisation, but remains accessible to all readers interested in a profound understanding of the recycled clothing trade in India." —South Asia Research

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Table of Contents

1. Recycling Indian Clothing: The Global Context
2. Fieldwork Contexts
3. Looking through the Wardrobe
4. Love and Protection: Strategies of Conservation
5. Sacrifice and Exchange
6. Adding Value: Recycling and Transformation
7. Value and Potential
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