Developments in Angola were among the ﬁrst to draw attention to the problem of conconﬂict diamonds ﬂict diamonds or blood diamonds, Diamonds sold to but diamonds also factored in bitﬁnance wars or ter conﬂicts in Sierra Leone, Libeterrorist activities. ria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In response to public concerns, many diamond retailers now certify that the diamonds they sell are not conﬂict diamonds (}ÕÀiÊÓ°n).
Sports, Representation, and Commodiﬁcation The discussion of diamonds shows how successful some enterprises are at shaping cultural practices, both locally and globally. Commodiﬁcation is not limited to material culture, however. Commodiﬁcation also inﬂuences nonmaterial culture and increasingly involves indigenous and local communities, in part because it presents opportunities for commercial transactions and economic gain. The Maori are the indigenous peoples of New Zealand. One facet of Maori nonmaterial culture that has been heavily commodiﬁed within the past decade is the haka, a collective, ritual dance (Figure 2.9).
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The commodiﬁcation of the haka has been hotly contested for two key reasons. The ﬁrst reason is that, as Maori scholars have pointed out, the haka is not actually a Maori war dance and the rugby players do not use authentic haka moves. The second reason involves ownership and control of Maori culture. In 2000, some Maoris began to seek a greater share of the proﬁt that both Adidas and the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) were making on contracts for the televising of All Blacks games. Representatives of the NZRFU commented that their use of the haka was not for commercial purposes. When Maoris raised concerns over violations of copyright in the commercial and also on billboards, lawyers for NZRFU argued that it was not possible to prove who created the haka or had ownership of it. If you are not Maori, the controversy over the haka may seem insigniﬁcant. Nevertheless, there are at least two crucial points to take from this discussion. The ﬁrst is that culture is contested. Culture is so contested because people derive a good part of their sense of identity from it. The second and related point is that the controversy over the haka involves questions of ownership as well as cultural boundaries. For example, who should have a say in the use of cultural symbols, such as the haka or the representation of peoples and their cultural practices? Also, are there
Before a match, members of the New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, gather in the middle of the ﬁeld and perform the haka, an ancient ritual dance consisting of a series of loud chants, body slapping, forceful movements of the arms and legs, and jumping. The goal is to psych up the members of the All Blacks team and intimidate their opponent.
The Commodiﬁcation of Culture
Chapters for Manual High School