The Fashioned Body provides a wide-ranging and original overview of fashion and dress from an historical and sociological perspective. The book gives a clear summary of the theories surrounding the role and function of fashion in modern society, and examines how fashion plays a crucial role in the formation of modern identity through its articulation of the body, gender and sexuality.
In examining fashion in relation to the body, the book offers a much needed synthesis between the literature on fashion and dress, which has tended to ignore the body, and the sociology of the body, which has tended to marginalize fashion and dress. Entwistle shows how an understanding of fashion and dress requires an understanding of the meanings acquired by the body in culture - since it is the body that fashion speaks to and which is dressed in almost all social situations and encounters. She argues that while fashion refers to a specific system of dress originating in the west, all cultures 'dress' the body in the same way, making it a crucial feature of social order. Drawing on the work of Douglas, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, Goffman and Bourdieu, the book offers insights into the connections that need to be made between the body, fashion and dress, arguing for an account of fashion and dress as 'situated bodily practice'.
The Fashioned Body will be an invaluable resource for students and academics interested in the social role of fashion and dress in modern culture and will also be of interest to students and researchers in the areas of consumption, cultural studies, gender studies and feminist theory.
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Joanne Entwistle is lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex.Review:
"Entwistle has written a comprehensive and clear account, commenting upon a vast literature and clarifying what would otherwise be a bewildering range of theoretical and analytical perspectives. She tends to eschew single or universal explanations. Instead by emphasizing the relationship to the body, the study of fashion as practice and the need to bring back together research on production and consumption, the result is a materialist approach in the best sense of that term. An ideal resource for teaching."
Daniel Miller, University College, London
"The Fashioned Body by Joanne Entwistle is an important acquisition for historians or students of fashion because the author rejects all overarching or reductive theories and, instead, examines fashion as something that is both produced and consumed. Traditionally, writers in this field tend to examine the garment business or how clothes are selected and operate as signifiers of identity. Entwistle believes that there is no need to separate these two approaches, and she illustrates successfully how fashion is the result of a complex range of practices."
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