Category Consumption

Big Pharma, IP & Medicine for the Poor

by Gemma Harvey When pharmaceutical giant GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) recently announced that it will not be filing for patent protection for new medications in Least Developed and Low Income countries, I was initially impressed. But then I wondered: What had they been doing before? Although GSK have set a precedent in the pharmaceutical industry for widening […]

Songs for Freedom, Not for Free

by Sandy Bonnington It has been a busy and exciting couple of months for hip-hop lovers, with the Tidal-exclusive release of Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Drake’s Views for the Six—which is exclusive to Apple Music streaming and iTunes. Alongside these major releases, Chance the Rapper released his third free mixtape, Coloring Book, available to stream free […]

Beyoncé’s Anthropology of Labour

by Rebecca Prentice Last Sunday, the headline screamed: “Exposed: Sweatshop ‘Slaves’ Earning Just 44p an Hour Making ‘Empowering’ Beyoncé Clobber.” British tabloid newspaper The Sun claimed that Beyoncé Knowles’ activewear clothing line, Ivy Park (with Topshop), was made in Sri Lankan sweatshops, where workers earn just £4.30 ($6.19) a day. Copycat news articles soon followed:  “Beyoncé’s […]

Food…Use It or Lose It?

by Sandy Bonnington Each year 7 million tonnes of food and drink are thrown away in households around the UK with over half of this being perfectly edible (Love Food Hate Waste, 2016). Food waste is an issue that has been ignored for too¡ long and is only finally getting the attention of the public […]

Pin Money vs. Needle Money

by Rebecca Prentice The first time I heard about ‘pin money’ was years ago, in an interview Bonnie Raitt gave about the origins of her music career. She must have said something similar to what she told Nottingham Post in 2013: ‘I was looking to play little clubs just to make some pin money while […]

A Defence of Fair Trade

by Gemma Harvey Fair trade aspires to even the terms of trade by paying producers (of tea, coffee, etc.) more than the market rate, an arrangement that is communicated to consumers by way of a certification label. As an economic anthropologist, fair trade incites me into self-reflexive, analytical chaos. On the one hand, I am […]

What if Music is a Gift (Not a Commodity)?

by Rebecca Prentice Ever since music consumption became ‘digital’ – free from the need for physical objects like vinyl records, CDs, and cassettes – its immateriality has been both a blessing and a curse. Listeners revel in the cheap and permanent accessibility of all their favourite songs, while music execs wonder how to make money when […]