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UAL Research Online

For Sartorial Sociology: On Dress, Materiality, Technology, and Comfort

Almila, Anna-Mari (2016) For Sartorial Sociology: On Dress, Materiality, Technology, and Comfort. In: Emergent Culture, 16-18 November 2016, Exeter.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Almila, Anna-Mari

For a long time, sociology, anthropology and, later, cultural studies, have focussed on different aspects of sartorial phenomena. Generally, sociology has laid claim to (Euro-American) ‘fashion’, anthropology to ‘dress’ (outside Euro-America), and cultural studies to (sub-cultural) ‘style’. But recently, the boundaries between these fields have been rearranged, with anthropology and cultural studies increasingly exploring many kinds of fashions and sub-fashions in a variety of locations and contexts. Sociology of fashion, meanwhile, has been increasingly focussed on symbolic meanings created through fashion production, distribution and mediation systems.

In this paper, I argue for new sociological ways of thinking about dress and everyday fashion. Drawing upon Bourdieu’s habitus and bodily hexis, sociology of ‘tasting techniques’, and Actor Network Theory (ANT)-influenced ideas about material and technological mediation, I develop a framework for sartorial sociology, a sociology of dress that pays more attention to the materiality of garments, the histories of material technologies, and the physical-social, embodied experiences of wearing garments than has hitherto been the case. Through the case study of Islamic fashion, I argue that a variety of realms are deeply intertwined in sartorial practices: technological developments shape socio-religio-political discourses, and individual experiences of physical and social comfort, physical environments and material characteristics formulate everyday experiences of security and vulnerability, and individuals attributing meaning and agency to their dress involves the disciplining of their behaviour in social situations.

By bringing these realms – socio-political, material, technological, psychological and physical – together, I seek to view everyday dress practices in a new light. I thereby extend certain principles that anthropological material culture studies of dress have sought to establish, and explore the ways in which sociological accounts of dress and fashion can integrate such principles in novel and productive ways.

Official Website: http://esa-2016-rn7.weebly.com/
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: sociology of fashion, sociology of dress, Bourdieu, Actor Network Theory, materiality
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: 17 November 2016
Event Location: Exeter
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2017 13:09
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2017 13:09
Item ID: 10711
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/10711

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