Identity in old clothes: The socio-cultural dynamics of second-hand clothing in Irbid, Jordan

M. M. Na'amneh, A. K. Al Husban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the socio-cultural dynamics underlying the consumption of second-hand clothing (al-Balih) in Irbid city, northern Jordan. It primarily examines the various images and meanings that consumers attach to used clothes imported primarily from the West. Al-Balih is conceived of as a social space where multiple imaginations and images meet and interact. Put another way, it tends to blur the conventional socio-economic distinctions that mark Jordanian society. In light of the recent economic hardship that Jordanians have faced due to the late alarming rise in most commodity prices, more people are turning to shopping at second-hand stores. The growth of the second-hand clothing trade can be seen as a testament to the strong demand by consumers for varied and inexpensive products. The paper adopts an anthropological framework in terms of its methodology and analysis. Ethnographic data were collected primarily through conducting in-depth interviews with consumers and shops owners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-621
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Identities
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Jordan
  • consumption
  • globalization
  • identity
  • second-hand clothing
  • social agency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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