Product – Production and Consumption

Product – Production and Consumption

For this week’s discussion I want you to think about the “social life of things”. The anthropologist Kenneth Guest used this concept and developed a much loved class room activity called “Making a can of coke unfamiliar”. By asking specific questions about this product we can reveal the economic and social relationships that that enable producing and consuming this product locally and globally as well as the effects that making this product has on all involved participants and their environments, families, etc. I want you to choose a product in your home and do the same by answering the following questions about your product based on some brief internet research (do not use a can of Coke).

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Examples include Hershey’s and Godiva chocolate, Dole bananas, Nike tennis shoes, and Levi’s blue jeans and many more. I look forward to seeing what you come up with! Questions (2-7 answer in complete sentences) 1. Name of your product2. What’s in it? Where did the ingredients come from?3. Who made it? What is their life like?4. What is the impact of this item on the local community where it is produced? Do they consume (wear, eat, drink, use)it? Do they work in the factory that makes it? How much do they earn? How much has making this product changed their lives? Has it affected people in the community differently based age, gender, or class? What are the health impacts?5.

What is the impact of the product on the community where the product is consumed? What are the health impacts? The environment impacts. Where does the waste end up – landfills, the ocean, recycled, repurposed? 6. What do you pay for the product? What are the real costs of producing it in terms of water, power systems, sewage treatment, pollution, garbage disposal and roads for transportation? Who pays for them? 7. What is the environmental impact of making your chosen good considering the raw materials and how they are acquired, grown, harvested, mined etc. what about quantity of water used in the making of your product?

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