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Suddenly Melungeon! Reconstructing Consumer Identity Across the Color Line

Consumer Culture Theory

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1446-1, eISBN: 978-1-84855-984-4

Publication date: 7 June 2007


The Melungeons, a person-of-color ethnic group dwelling in southern Appalachia, have recently discovered their multi-racial, non-Christian ancestry. We describe the process of ethnogenesis via consumption undertaken by Melungeons to connect their identities to this newfound ancestry. We also examine the social evolution of the Melungeon ethnic label to become a valued personal possession and the public identification of certain physical features as markers of Melungeon ethnicity. It is proposed that these may serve as exemplars for consumer behaviors among other mestizo ethnic groups.


Hirschman, E.C. and Panther-Yates, D. (2007), "Suddenly Melungeon! Reconstructing Consumer Identity Across the Color Line", Belk, R.W. and Sherry, J.F. (Ed.) Consumer Culture Theory (Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 241-259.



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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited