Fashioning the Body Politic: Dress, Gender, Citizenship

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Wendy Parkins
Bloomsbury Academic, May 1, 2002 - Design - 260 pages
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With an afterword by Roger Griffin. Fashion is often thought of as a matter of personal taste, completely unconnected with the public domain of political life and citizenship. Overturning this perspective, this absorbing book reveals that, from the French Revolution to post-revolutionary China, fashion has played a significant role in political participation and protest. Fashioning the Body Politic challenges the perception of helpless fashion victims, subject to manipulation by consumerism and the fashion industry, and shows how, in a range of historical and national contexts, certain styles of dress and display were significant for both men and women's political participation and the formation of their identities as citizens. How did 'dressing up' in a variety of ways allow suffragette women to perform unconventional forms of political protest? In what ways did the uniforms of scouts and guides function to erect gender, racial and religious boundaries? Following the ban on traditional clothing in Imperial Russia, how did Russians appropriate European fashions and ethnic costumes to fashion new identities for themselves? Using these and a wealth of other case studies, Fashioning the Body Politic offers a fresh perspective on the relationship between men, women and fashion and shows that the political domain has always been permeated with the cultural practices of dress, display and bodily performance.

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About the author (2002)

Wendy Parkins Lecturer in the Division of Social Sciences,Murdoch University

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