Shopping and malls have become the subject of public commentary, a sign of a new South Africa or of the crassness of neoliberal global culture (De Vries 2008; Murray 2008: 49; cf. Murray 1997; Nuttall 2008). Discourse around consumption, however, surfaces a deeper history: ‘The desire and power to consume was racialized, at the same time as it was fundamental in the very making of race’ in South Africa (Posel 2010: 160). Thus it is to consumption that a new scholarship turns to understand race and political order (see many of the essays in this special issue). Consumption is
already always a ‘public’,1LQZKLFKZHWU\WRPDNHVHQVHRILWVVLJQL¿FDQFHRQDQG for political forms.