This thesis delves into sneaker culture, consumption, and the allure of limited-edition sneakers, which have ties to athletes and celebrities like Michael Jordan and Kanye West and have been amplified by artificial scarcity. It scrutinizes how sneaker companies like Nike profit from the commodification of Black masculinity, fueling sneaker fandom. Drawing upon Pierre Bourdieu's theories of distinction and Sara Ahmed's theory of affect, this research explores how sneakers are fetishized, affective objects, which is critical in understanding the motivations and desires of sneaker consumption. Research for this study, conducted from 2016-2019 in Metro Vancouver, employed a multi-site ethnographic approach, involving interviews with sneaker consumers and traders. This research contributes to literature on sneaker consumption, the politics of value and desire, and the use of affect as a theoretical framework for studying markets as cultures.
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Thesis advisor: Culhane, Dara
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