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The Copy Generic

How the Nonspecific Makes Our Social Worlds

The Copy Generic

How the Nonspecific Makes Our Social Worlds

An illuminating look at how the “generic” is key to how we make meaning in the world.
From off-brand products to elevator music, the “generic” is discarded as the copy, the knock-off, and the old. In The Copy Generic, anthropologist Scott MacLochlainn insists that more than the waste from the culture machine, the generic is a universal social tool, allowing us to move through the world with necessary frames of reference. It is the baseline and background, a category that includes and orders different types of specificity yet remains non-specific in itself. Across arenas as diverse as city planning, social media, ethnonationalism, and religion, the generic points to spaces in which knowledge is both over-produced and desperately lacking. Moving through ethnographic and historical settings in the Philippines, Europe, and the United States, MacLochlainn reveals ways the “generic” is crucial to how things repeat, circulate, and are classified in the world.

232 pages | 22 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2022

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Asian Studies: Southeast Asia and Australia

Religion: Christianity, Religion and Society

Rhetoric and Communication

Table of Contents

Part I: The Copy Generic
Introduction: Copies Generic, Templates, and [Insert Text Here]
1. Roses Are Red: The Seduction of Order and the Covertness of Category
2. Generic Goes to Hollywood: Trademarking, Unmarking, and the Brand Displaced
3. Source Mimesis: How We Think about the Unauthored and Collectively Owned

Part II: Christian Plurals and a Generic Religious
4. Formatting the Religious: “Non-Christians” and the Naturalness of Language
5. Divine/Generic | Olive/Mango
6. Big Faith: Christian Plurals and the Ambience of Catholicism
Epilogue: House of Generics Pro Forma

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