Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNew York U.
Grant numberGr. 9624
Approve DateApril 13, 2018
Project TitleSalas, Marcel A., New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Total Market American: Race, Digital Space & the Advertising of Consumer Citzenship,' supervised by Dr. Arlene Davila
MARCEL A. SALAS, then a graduate student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in April 2018 to aid research on ‘Total Market American: Race, Digital Space & the Advertising of Consumer Citzenship,’ supervised by Dr. Arlene Davila. For over a half century, multicultural advertising in the United States has materialized into a collection of agencies, marketing departments, consumer research firms and consultancies that specialize in producing advertising targeted towards specific racial and ethnic groups — namely Latinx, African American and Asian American consumers. Multicultural advertising exists due to the distinction that brands and media companies have created between marketing to nonwhite consumers and what is called the ‘general market’ — a term used to refer to the nation as a marketplace that while seemingly unmarked by race and ethnicity, has tacitly become synonymous in industry discourse with white consumers. The significance of multicultural advertising has become ever the more pronounced since the 2010 U.S. Census, which projected that by the year 2044, the Latinx, African American, Asian American, and indigenous populations will together comprise the majority of the United States’ population. Yet at a time where one might presume that multicultural advertising’s future would be even more secure, the industry teeters on the edge of obsolescence. Based on twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork at multicultural agencies and key industry events, this dissertation examines how multicultural advertising professionals theorize about identity, and what their knowledge production practices reveal about the contemporary cultural politics of race, ethnicity and national belonging.