Consumption and Cosmopolitanism: Practicing Modernity at the Second-Hand Marketplace in Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Abstract

At the second-hand marketplace in Nuku'alofa, the capital of Tonga, Tongans buy and sell objects that their diasporic relatives send them instead of remittances. While selling objects goes against the grain of a traditional moral order, the marketplace is immensely popular but dominated by local Others. It enables participants to articulate and practice consumption and, more generally, a modern but locally relevant self, while at the same time quietly challenge the generally accepted assumption that high-ranking or wealthy elites control modernity.