Abstract: Up Close in the Flat World: Learning about the Global at a Local Starbucks in Singapore

Bryant Simon


In this ethnographic essay, I look at drinking Starbucks coffee in Singapore, especially by young Malays. What does it mean for these teens from the most economically and socially marginal community in this multicultural country to publicly consume oversized American products? What are they saying about themselves and their relationship to their tradition-bound community? What can we learn about globalization and how it works by charting the consumption of this American product by a somewhat outsider community in this transnational place? I examine one group of buyers to explore the localized meaning of the global.

BEH On-Line Paper