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Cultures in Motion$
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Daniel T. Rodgers, Bhavani Raman, and Helmut Reimitz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159096

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159096.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Fashioning a Market

Fashioning a Market

The Singer Sewing Machine in Colonial Lanka

(p.134) Chapter 5 Fashioning a Market
Cultures in Motion

Nira Wickramasinghe

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the role of the Singer sewing machine in fashioning a consumer market in colonial Lanka, now known as Sri Lanka. More specifically, it narrates the fashioning of a market imaginary, which indexed modernity as desire installed through the Singer machine. The chapter first provides an overview of the Singer Sewing Machine Company and the market for sewing machines before discussing the company's global expansion. It then considers the Asian market for the Singer sewing machine and the Singer Company's venture in Ceylon/Lanka. It also analyzes the diffusion of the Singer sewing machine in Lanka and the marketing strategies used by Singer in the country. Finally, it explores how the Singer sewing machine intersected with the issue of race and the civilizing mission and how the market imaginary was exposed in circuits of communication such as advertisements, discourses of Sinhalese modern nationalism, and the economy of the machines itself.

Keywords:   consumer market, Lanka, market imaginary, modernity, Singer Sewing Machine Company, Singer sewing machine, marketing, race, civilizing mission, nationalism

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