Mediated Identities and Cultures of Consumption
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Introduction: Imaginaries of Transnationalism
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At the Houston airport the flight will not board for another hour. Behind me, two women talk about their reasons for going to El Salvador. “We only go for problems. We have come because we have problems, and return to solve some other problem,” one of them says. “I don’t hear anyone say they are going there to take a great vacation,” she adds dryly. The other woman chuckles in agreement. Everybody...
1. Tracing the Borderless in “Departamento 15”
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"El periodismo es el mejor ofi cio del mundo” (“Journalism is the greatest trade in the world”) read the banner at the top of the website of the Asociación de Periodistas de El Salvador (APES) in 2010. This phrase is borrowed, appropriately, from journalist and novelist Gabriel García Márquez’s 1996 address to the...
2. The Desperate Images
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"La verdad circula por todas partes” (“truth circulates everywhere”), La Prensa Gráfica proclaims in a publicity campaign. A 2003 advertisement from that campaign is particularly striking. The photograph shows a group of young men wearing caps and carrying backpacks, barely discernible in the darkness. The...
3. Vega’s Disgust
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Edgardo Vega’s aversion and asco (“disgust”) for El Salvador has only grown since he emigrated in the late 1970s and made his new home in Montreal, Canada, where he has cultivated a satisfying academic career in art history. It is clear that Vega— the protagonist of Horacio Castellanos Moya’s 1997 novel El asco: Thomas Bernhard en San Salvador— never wanted to return to his birthplace....
4. Exporting Voices: Aspirations and Fluencyin the Call Center
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Carla was in her twenties when I met her. She had graduated from a bilingual high school in San Salvador, and currently worked at a call center. I contacted her through a mutual friend, someone who was also her coworker, and we arranged an interview. On an August afternoon in 2006, Carla and I sat at a café in Multiplaza, a shopping mall, talking about her job, about what working...
5. “Heart of the City”: Life and Spaces ofConsumption in San Salvador
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The slogan of a famous shopping center in San Salvador is, “Metrocentro: El corazón de la ciudad y tú lo haces latir” (“the heart of the city and you make it beat”). Shopping malls seem ubiquitous— always a potential detour for everyday errands and the social interactions of many people in contemporary San Salvador. Growing up in San Salvador, I spent time in Metrocentro, and over...
Conclusion: Renewing Narratives ofConnection and Distance
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I am at the Comalapa Airport in El Salvador. After checking in, I reach the area where travelers and their relatives assemble before the travelers say good- bye and proceed to airport security. The lobby is a farewell mini- mall for the already nostalgic traveler who, boarding pass in hand, prepares to leave El Salvador. A...
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Page Count: 216
Illustrations: 2 photographs
Publication Year: 2014