28.2 | Sandra Ponzanesi

The Postcolonial Cultural Industry: From Consumption to Distinction


Drawing from Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s critical notion of the culture industry, this essay explores how postcolonial texts cater to cosmopolitan audiences who, according to Bourdieu’s idea of “distinction,” thrive on the consumption of global goods with local flare. Taking Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as an example of literary prestige being transformed into cosmopolitan distinction, the essay discusses how the cultural industry contributes to the marketing and transposition of postcolonial texts, and their rearticulation of race, ethnicity, class, affect, and embodiment from the local to the global context, elaborating on how the creation of celebrity status as a postcolonial spokesperson takes place.