Fashion: The Sine Qua Non of Modernity

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2012 - 158 pages
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The purpose of this dissertation is to respond to the question-What is fashion? Although significant efforts have been made to identify the meaning and implications of fashion in our times, no term of explanatory reference has satisfied scholars from different fields. The contribution I claim to make is to provide one way to analyze fashion through philosophical discourse as well as sociopolitical observation. The reason for the difficulty in grappling with fashion in a simpler manner is that fashion is essentially twofold; that is, it is both a concept and a phenomenon. It is by virtue of Immanuel Kant's schematism that I attempt to prove the fundamental difference between the concept and the phenomenon, thereby illuminating the attributes of fashion as a whole. This analysis also provides the rationale for the conceptualization of fashion as newness par excellence, the motor of modernity. Not only is fashion to be construed in the purview of the dialectical image set forth by Walter Benjamin but also it is to be probed by way of dialectics by G.W.F. Hegel and Karl Marx, demonstrating the lineage between fashion and modernity and between fashion history and history in general. The zeitgeist with which fashion is often coupled together will finally find its justification as indispensable to fashion history, as the link between fashion and subjectivity, individuality, and self-consciousness is brought to light. iii.

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