(hand)Made in America

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Kelley D. Totten


Analyzing a Ford Motor Company advertisement that nods to a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) subculture, this essay explores how the “handmade” gets valued and defined in the context of mass culture. I offer a reading of the advertisement in the context of contemporary marketing trends to consider how ideas of mass culture, counterculture, and traditional culture shape ideas of fabricated objects. The idea of the factory-produced Ford is not in contrast to the handcrafted object as much as it is in dialogue. How do we categorize and value certain modes of production over others to construct our understandings of cultural identities – national, community, and individual?


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Peer-Reviewed Articles
Author Biography

Kelley D. Totten, Indiana University

PhD Candidate, Folklore Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology Indiana University