“Special Possessions and Marketization in Zagreb, Croatia”

Katherine Sredl, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Why are showcase cabinets (vitrina), displaying glass and porcelain, standard in living rooms in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia? Most of the special possessions research has been conducted in the US, where capitalism and stability are assumed to relate to consumption practices. Yet over nine months of ethnographic research in homes in Zagreb in 2006-07, informants told stories of buying tableware during times of turmoil like the late 1980s, the 1990s, with their inflation, political uncertainty and war. Research on marketization might look to globalization for an explanation. However, the practice of display in a vitrina is older than World War II and expanded with the birth of the Zagreb’s urban middle class and mass consumerism during market socialism (1954-1991). Informants described buying tableware in times of change as a way to prepare for the future in ways that resonate with traditions. Tableware consumption in Zagreb focuses on how consumers buy goods to create a future similar to the past.
[ to cite ]:
Katherine Sredl (2008) ,"“Special Possessions and Marketization in Zagreb, Croatia”", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research.