Making the Mundane Sacred Through Technology: Mediating Identity, Ecology and Commodity Fetishism

  • Vail P
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This article explores the sanctifying power of technology and digital imagery, and its use for local political action. Drawing on fieldwork under- taken in northeastern Thailand, the author examines how a photograph of a tree and its presentation on a laptop computer were used to save the tree from being cut down. He shows how a unique combination of rhetorical strategy and commodity fetishism, when coupled with the digital image, rendered the tree sacred and therefore untouchable; this was possible due to the cultural identity of rural villagers, who imagine themselves simultaneously as both rural and nationa

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  • Peter Vail

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