Anandi Ramamurthy
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Tea advertising and its ideological support for vertical control over production
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The advertising of tea enables us to observe how the economic and political exploits of planters in the late nineteenth century shifted the identity of tea from a Chinese product to an Indian/Ceylonese one. Before 1838, the only country to cultivate and export tea was China. The battle for markets in the tea industry was always aggressive. Both the Ceylonese and Indian planters established organisations to represent their interests and promote the consumption of Ceylon and Indian tea. In the 1880s and 1890s the conflicting identity of tea as a Chinese or Indian/Ceylon product expresses the conflicts of companies with separate interests. It is clear that the planters exploited and created racist/'Orientalist' constructs that were useful to them. The unbending racial and colonial hierarchies which the planters upheld are perceivable in the rigid systems of order that were represented in the advertising of Lipton's and other tea companies.

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Imperial persuaders

Images of Africa and Asia in British advertising


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