African Tradition and Global Consumer Culture: Understanding Attachment to Traditional Dress Style in West Africa

  •  Fatou Diop    
  •  Dwight Merunka    


This article investigates the attachment of Senegalese to traditional consumption patterns and its effects on the construction of a coherent identity. In particular, we investigate loyalty to traditional dress across multiple occasions and in the face of global consumer culture dominance. To explore the multiplicity of meanings of tradition, this study relies on in-depth interviews, focus groups and a structured means-end analysis. The results reveal that loyalty to tradition enables individuals to attain social and self-identity benefits. The link of benefits sought from traditional consumption and behavior to end-goals pursued by individuals, reveals that attachment to traditional dress styles relates mainly to self-esteem and expressions of religious values, ethical values and African identity. This attachment to tradition and associated values varies according to behavioral patterns and frequency of use.

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