Cultural Studies

Download Dressed to Impress: Looking the Part (Dress, Body, Culture) by William J. F. Keenan PDF

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By William J. F. Keenan

Our costume is our id. In costume, we are living, circulation and feature our social being. This publication exhibits how the dressed physique is principal to the development of a recognizable identification and gives obtainable bills of the actual costume "ways" linked to a substantial number of life. Churchgoers, ballerinas, Muslim schoolgirls, glamour types, "vampires," clergymen and kingdom gentlemen all style a social self via gown. those cultures all have attribute sorts of showing the dressed physique for social visibility-whether in faith, intercourse, functionality, or in the street. not like a lot of the literature on costume, which regularly assumes a scarcity of supplier at the a part of the wearer, participants to this e-book specialize in the awake manipulation of costume to mirror an identification that's designed to appear "different."

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Extra info for Dressed to Impress: Looking the Part (Dress, Body, Culture)

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A Humanistic Perspective Dress has ever played a part in commentary on morals, manners and mores from biblical injunctions against vanity, through literary satire – Chaucer, Erasmus, Swift – on human foibles and frailties, to innumerable books on etiquette, decorum and good taste ranging from early modern manuals on ‘civilized’ (cf. Elias 1978) conduct to ‘dress for success’ guides in our own day. Across this immense literature, clothes are perceived as presentational devices – ‘secondary causes’ – for underlying tastes and values, mere surfaces on which cultural and moral preferences and powers can be impressed.

Then is Monmouth Street, a Mirza’s Hill, where, in motley vision, the whole Pageant of Existence passes awfully before us . . the Bedlam of Creation! Like so much else in the period – sex, death, diverse modes of social exclusion and intolerance – dress was, as it were, swept under the carpet. As a topic of public conversation, it was decidedly impolite in refined social settings and extremely embarrassing in impoverished ones to make explicit reference to clothing as a marker of personal identity and social belonging.

By and large, students of the social animal have conducted their studies in benign neglect of this apparently obvious sartorial truth about ourselves. Indeed, we seem more comfortable defining ourselves as the ‘laughing’ or ‘tool-using’ or ‘language-using’ species – attributes we in fact share with other species lower down the evolutionary chain – than we do with our, arguably, uniquely human characteristic as the ‘dressing’ species! Little wonder that Carlyle rings out (p. 263): ‘Clotha Virumque cano [Of Clothes and the Man I sing] .

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