Synopses & Reviews
Clothing the body is one of the most complicated acts of daily existence. When a nun ponders red shoes, an architect knots his bowtie, a lesbian laces her Doc Martens, or a nude model disrobes, each is engaging in a process of identity-making that is both intensely personal and deeply social. In an increasingly material world, negotiating dress codes is a nuanced art, informed by shifting patterns of power and authority, play and performance, as well as gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity and race.
Drawing on ethnographic knowledge to connect theory and practice, authors reveal links between material culture, social and economic forces and personal performance -- from trade beads to Barbie, and from Taiwanese producer to Nike consumer -- to explain clothing choices through time and across cultures. Conventional understandings of the self, subject and society are shown to be inadequate when examining the interconnections of cultural and transnational economic systems of production and consumption that have a profound effect on human choice. Social climates in which dress accrues meaning are increasingly global climates, where womens bodies are commodified, gender categories are rigidly bound, and sweatshop labourers are slaves to boundless consumer appetite.
This interdisciplinary book represents an important contribution to a fascinating and contested realm of human experience, and will be indispensable for anyone interested in the sociology, anthropology and psychology of fashion, cultural studies or the fashion industry.
About the Author
Edited by Anne Brydon
, University of Western Ontario and Sandra Niessen
, Anthropologist, Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta.