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A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences

ISSN 1736-7514 (electronic)  ISSN 1406-0922 (print)
Published since 1997

A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences

ISSN 1736-7514 (electronic)  ISSN 1406-0922 (print)
Published since 1997

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(Full article in PDF format)   doi: 10.3176/tr.2008.3.09


Berk Vaher


The article is a study into exotic record collecting as a manifestation of memory-based identity politics – a way of reasserting one’s agency in the consumerist society through an expanded consciousness of the complexities of the forgotten cultural past (in the present case, extremely eccentric obscure vinyl records). First, exotic record collecting is linked to the more extensive tradition of utopian exoticism in Western culture – the recycling of cultural memory (thus also an exoticism based on temporal rather than spatial distance) is presented as an extension of the earlier but largely exhausted exoticism which was inspired by alien territories. Next, exotic vinyl hunting is suggested to be the postmodern revival of the cultural project of ‘ethnographic surrealism’, celebrated by James Clifford as one of the crucial catalysts of modernism. Finally, the connection between exotic record collecting and other reinterpretations of collective cultural memory is indicated, as exemplified by collector Mickey MacGowan’s The Unknown Museum, which ventures to expand collective cultural memory of the history of popular culture and thus combat the perennial industrial promotion of the ‘new’ with more vintage and affective ways of defining oneself through material objects of imagined value.


memory, exoticism, popular culture, vinyl records.


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Current Issue: Vol. 19, Issue 4, 2015

Publishing schedule:
No. 1: 20 March
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