On the Commodity Trail

Alison Hulme's "On the Commodity Trail: The Journey of a Bargain Store Product from East to West" (2015) tracks the geographies that products move within. Starting with an inquiry in Bargain Stores, Hulme begins in the dump in Shanghai, then to factories, over seas in containers and via global ports, back to the bargain store, and projecting the likely return to the dump. I picked up the book looking for an ethnography I might use to teach an introductory undergraduate course. This did not fit that purpose, but is interesting nonetheless. Unfortunately for the author, the commodities spaces change so rapidly that this 2015 publication could be read as a history, as these geographies and processes have changed so rapidly. The book is easy to read and is well suited to lower level undergraduate courses.

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