The Marketing and Making of a People
University of California Press 2012
New Books in AnthropologyNew Books in Latin American StudiesNew Books in Latino StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network December 11, 2015 David-James Gonzales
In Latinos Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People (University of California Press, updated ed. 2012) Arlene Davila, Professor of Anthropology at New York University, questions the profound influence of the Hispanic-Latina/o marketing industry in defining notions of Latina/o identity and culture. Providing an ethnography of the industry’s founders, key intellectuals, as well as its position within corporate America, Dr. Davila critiques the “sanitization” of Latinidad by Hispanic ad agencies that promote a “safe” (i.e., consumable) image of Latina/os rooted in behavioral stereotypes as Spanish-language dominant, Catholic, conservative, traditional, family-oriented, and “suicidally brand loyal.” Professor Davila also illuminates the hierarchies of race, class, culture, and nation that not only undergird the “whitewashed” representations of Latina/os, but which also work to marginalize their labor and lack of representation within the industry. Situating the rise of Hispanic marketing within its proper neoliberal context, Davila contests the boosterish assumptions that the heightened visibility of Latina/os in the media will translate into increased political representation and power.