The Fashioned Body: An Introduction

ISBN: 0745620078
ISBN 13: 9780745620077
By: Joanne Entwistle

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About this book

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.

Reader's Thoughts

Clare Mayo

got too dense and dry...have put it aside


Entwistle starts from the basic position that there are significant and serious gaps in fashion-linked scholarship: on the one hand we have design and related issues framed through either art history or a semiotic bent in cultural studies (so style and image centred), and on the other we have business focussed studies of clothing and fashion companies but that do not consider consumption or related cultural & sociological questions. Her conclusion is that there are two gaps ā€“ fashion, dress and clothing as lived experience (so we need to inject the body into sociologies of fashion) and the linkage of production and consumption. These are huge gaps that she sets out to fill, and is much more successful at the former (fashion/clothing as embodied practice) than she is at the latter. This is partly a result of the balance of content ā€“ there are about 25 pages on the fashion industry, 140 or so on historical and contemporary meanings of embodied fashion plus nearly 80 exploring the theoretical justification for considering embodiment as central to making sense of fashion and clothing. Consequently, the brief production-consumption linkage element of the analysis is more tantalising than satisfying, suggesting many more questions than it does answers ā€“ but the case for considering embodiment is extremely good, historically savvy, and insightful. Now, Iā€™d just like her to do the same thing with the industry.

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