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Archive for the ‘Admin Message’ Category

I realise, of course, that this blog has been severely neglected of late, and this is down to two primary reasons:

1. I spilled sugary tea all over my laptop and haven’t been able to do so much as turn it on for nearly 3 months now. Finally, at the end of this week I should be the proud owner of a new HP – thanks to the parents for help!

2. Basic lack of material.

…. Actually no, that 2nd is probably the worst excuse ever from an anthropology student, so let’s backtrack: There are some critiques of recent fashion/fragrance advertising at my sister blog ‘Catherine Lucas Design’ (filed under Art Reviews), which may be of interest not only for those engaged in fashion theory and/or advertising techniques, but also sociology.

Once I am securely back online and not borrowing IT access from parents/friends/uni/work, I also hope to revive this blog and get the debates going again. I also plan to change the site header as soon as I have access to Photoshop again; withdrawal from my beloved Adobe Creative Suite brings its own special forms of pain.

Over but not out.

The Anthromodeologist.

 

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Recently I was asked to reccommend some academic texts for the study of fashion alongside a cultural studies/anthropological theme. You can find the answer on the ‘about’ comments page, however I thought it might also be useful to paste it in here as a post too.

The following books are listed alphabetically by author, because that’s not only fair, but also it would be impossible for me to advise anyone on what books could be of most use to them. It depends entirely on the information you’re looking for, and the aims of your theoretical research. However, I do have a large personal library of academic texts surrounding anthropology and gender in particular, as well as fashion theory, and these have inevitably become interlinked with feminist texts, media and PR critical analysis, and various other intermingling topics, particularly psychoanalytical of late.

If you’re thinking about looking at the subject of fashion and culture, however, these texts might be a good starting point – I know they were for me:

Barthes, Roland (2004), The Language of Fashion. Berg Publications
Barthes is concerned with semiotics – i.e. the idea that everything can be taken as a sign or symbol for something else. I personally used this book to help me research Dandyism, of which this book has a short chapter, examining not only the techniques of this dressing style, but also its social ethos and political symbolism. The book is not very long, so I see it (perhaps mistakenly) as an additional add-on to Barthes earlier work, ‘The Fashion System,’ which is also excellent.

Crane, Diana (2000), Fashion and it’s Social Agendas: Class, Gender, and Identity in Clothing. University of Chicago Press.
This book examines clothing not only as a mode of self expression, but as a mode of non-verbal reaction against social norms. It examines views on class and gender in particular, with a keen focus on outward expression of sexual orientation. I found the chapter “Fashion Images and the Struggle for Women’s Identity’ particularly impressive whilst researching for an essay on advertising in women’s fashion, and the notion of ‘building’ and embodying identities. However, the book also touches on political elements such as global markets, class and control, and also, unlike many books about fashion, devotes an entire section to a very interesting exploration of masculine identities as impressed through dress.

De Beauvoir, Simone (1949, republished 1997) The Second Sex. Vintage Classics.
Good lord, where to start on this book? It’s vast, for one thing. My own tattered but faithful copy looks like a hedgehog on acid, it has so many coloured tab markers in it! Helpfully segregated into two ‘books’, and these into various parts with their own chapters, De Beauvoir’s book is one of the most important books (in my very humble opinion) to study when looking at not only Gender studies, but also the social construction of ‘woman’ from infancy, through childhood, to adulthood, with the section on motherhood particularly interesting as it examines the idea that a mother is not a natural transitional identity, but must be in some ways socially formed. Anyway, I can’t go on about this because we would be here for many days!

Moore, Henrietta L (1988), Feminism and Anthropology. Polity Press.
It is very difficult to discuss Fashion, in an Anthropological sense, without looking at Feminism. I have a love/hate relationship with the subject, however it is important to understand certain movements of feminism (the so-called ‘waves’ are very different from each other and should influence the way we view movements in fashion and embodied identity differently). Moore’s book looks to the main social issues surrounding and impacting feminism, such as changing family structures, the viewing of and status of women in the workplace, and what ‘women’s work’ is or has evolved as, and perhaps most importantly, examines feminist critques in anthropology itself. The book has come under a lot of criticism, not all of it complimentary, but this by no means makes it less useful reading.

…Those are my ‘big four,’ if you will, for the specific area of focus on fashion and anthropology, however the following are equally important and very often influence my reading:

Butler, Judith, (1999) Gender Trouble. (Routledge)
Cole, Shaun (2000) Don We Now Our Gay Apparel: Gay men’s dress in the twentieth century. (Berg)
Vinken, Barbara (2005) Fashion Zeitgeist: Trends and Cycles in the Fashion System. (Berg)
Wolf, Naomi (1991) The Beauty Myth: How images of beauty are used against women. (Vintage)

Various other theorists of interest:
Sophie Woodward (women and everyday dressing)*; Emma Tarlo (muslim and faith dressing and it social and political signifiers)*; Hannah Arendt (theories of loneliness); Valerie Steele (fashion theorist and historian); Joanne Entwistle (the dressed body); Donna Haraway (theories of cyborg and techonology in the social sphere); Ariel Levy (feminism); Germaine Greer (feminism); Frances Pine (women’s work and family roles in rural Poland)*, etc etc etc!

Also, if you have access to JStor or AnthroSource, these are invaluable search engines for academic articles and readings, as well as academic book reviews. Most universites have access to these and they are brilliant. I like to download and save interesting readings, even if I just think they might be of use at some point though not necessarily for what I’m researching at the time.

I hope all of this is useful to anyone looking into this subject area! If you have your own reccommendations, please leave comments for other people to be informed – and to inform me too!

(*okay, I’m biased, these three have been tutors of mine…)

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apologies and thanks

Sorry I keep altering the appearance of this blog – I’m still getting the hang of the site and want this to be as easy as possible for people to navigate and find links to sites and blogs I’ve found interesting and worthy of recommendation.

I know the blog’s being followed by a few people already and that’s really great, so thank you for signing up and I hope to have the kinks worked out soon.

fingers crossed!

The Anthromodeologist.

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First blog. Pretty much introductory babble.

I’m writing under a pseudonym to post my comments around the site and on other people’s blogs, but you will find some of my own essays and writings here under my name, Catherine Lucas. When I ‘coined’ (read: made up) the word ‘anthromodeology’ it was to prevent my fashion theory influences and my anthropological influences from being separated out in my head. I don’t believe that art and media references should be separated out from anthropology.

I have to admit, I’m more interested in the everyday of culture and society than sensationalist anthropology. I’m not Malinowski; I’m not Margaret Mead: I don’t think you have to go to far off climes, or ‘go native’ in tribes to be called an anthropologist. Some of the most interesting ethnographies I’ve read have been from people doing fieldwork in unexplored sub-cultures of their own countries or societies. It’s what makes Laud Humphreys’ ‘Tearoom Trade’, for example, so compelling (no matter how ethically unsound his work was criticised to be, there’s no doubt it makes for interesting reading).

Some of the posts on here will be my own essays – obviously ones written either for myself, or years ago and pre – MA Social Anthropology. I don’t want to plagiarise myself before my Masters is finished! So anything posted that was written for a university project will have been for something submitted long ago, and therefore most likely fashion-related. So it could be argued that those works are more related to Cultural Studies than Anthropology …but as we all already know, I love academic crossover.

Some of the posts will be random thoughts – no ‘dear diary’ though – I wouldn’t put people through that! But it’s good to have a ponder now and then.

I don’t know whether anyone will read this – you may not even want to! But if we can get the ball rolling, that would be grand.

Also, pleaes visit my sister-blog Catherine Lucas Design, where you can find my creative streak: photography, fashion design and random squiggly bits!

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