Anandi Ramamurthy
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Soap advertising, the trader as civiliser and the scramble for Africa
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This chapter explores the effect of the specific material interests of soap manufacturers, their consumers, and the general political climate of the period on the representation of black people. The advertisements during the period of conquest and occupation cannot be regarded as representing a coherent ideological position on colonial policy by soap companies. It highlights the shifting attitudes to Africa by merchants and traders during this period. It is during the period of 'pacification and elaboration of systems of administration', that conglomeration began to affect the soap trade, with Lever Brothers in particular acquiring a number of smaller firms. Soap companies were one of the key groups to exploit the image of Africans in their advertising during the late nineteenth century. Their expanding industry was dependent on the newly exported vegetable oils from West Africa.

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Imperial persuaders

Images of Africa and Asia in British advertising


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