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Recycling Indian Clothing: Global Contexts of Reuse and Value (Tracking Globalization)

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Recycling Indian Clothing: Global Contexts of Reuse and Value (Tracking Globalization)

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In today’s globally connected marketplace, a wedding sari in rural north India may become a woman’s blouse or cushion cover in a Western boutique. Lucy Norris’s anthropological study of the recycling of clothes in Delhi follows garments as they are gifted, worn, handed on, discarded, recycled, and sold once more. Gifts of clothing are used to make and break relationships within middle-class households, but a growing surplus of unwanted clothing now contributes to a global glut of textile waste. When old clothing is, for instance, bartered for new kitchen utensils, it enters a vast waste commodity system in which it may be resold to the poor or remade into new textiles and exported. Norris traces these local and transnational flows through homes and markets as she tells the stories of the people who work in the largely hidden world of fabric recycling.

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