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Liquid identities : Mecca Cola versus Coca-Cola

[journal article]

Ram, Uri

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Abstract The Mecca Cola drink combines in its brand name two contrasting iconic images: one signifies 'authenticity', whereas the other signifies a 'commodity'. The conspicuous juxtaposition of 'Mecca' and 'Cola' and their hyphenization evokes the question: what is becoming of 'authenticity' in a thoroughly commodified world society? This article proposes that a distinction ought to be drawn between the effects of commodification on two distinct levels: the structural and symbolic. Whereas commodification homogenizes structurally, it heterogenizes symbolically. This article maintains that while symbolically Mecca Cola is antagonistic to Coca-Cola, structurally it is a case of an appropriation of the former by the latter. Mecca Cola thus attests to a structural 'Cola-ization' accompanied by a symbolic 'Mecca-ization' of current world cultures.
Keywords americanization; globalization; cultural identity; Islam; brand name item; name; Islamic society; symbol; consumption
Classification Sociology of Economics; Marketing
Free Keywords Mecca Cola; Coca-Cola
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages p. 465-484
Journal European Journal of Cultural Studies, 10 (2007) 4
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1367549407081952
Status Postprint; reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)
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