Bret Gustafson is associate professor of sociocultural anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. His work focuses on the anthropology of politics and the political, particularly Latin American social movements, state transformation, and the politics of development.
Posts by Bret Gustafson
The real Elvis is American, remember, and America is a consumer society. The desires we project, the stuff we buy—that is what feels real to us. It lets us have any Elvis we want. He left plenty of kitsch in his wake, plenty of pseudo-religion, plenty of Elvis jokes—but he was not, is not, a joke. He lived our contradictions, released our inhibitions, and lost himself in the process.