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... In truth, aristocrats (especially those actually residing at court) have engaged in such emulative practices for hundreds of years. Historically, monarchs often dictated what types of clothes and accessories courtiers could wear (or not wear; sumptuary laws prohibited the aristocracy from wearing certain colors and fabrics and restricting their use to royal families; Phillips 2007). In what may be one of the earliest examples of "human branding," (Thomson 2006) Elizabeth I encouraged her courtiers to wear cameo brooches that depicted her image (Sharpe 2009). ...
The term “royalty” connotes people who either occupy the role of monarchs in society, or who are related to these figures by blood or marriage. Although many royal houses around the world occupy a symbolic/ceremonial rather than a political role, royalty and the “human brands” royal families contain remain important sources of aspirational and conspicuous consumption. In this essay, we focus on how the British Royal Family Brand (BRFB; Otnes, Cele C. and Pauline Maclaran. 2015. Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press.) has remained the most visible and impactful royal variant in the world, even as its economic and political influence, and that of Britain, has waned. We discuss the influence of the BRFB in fueling consumption practices pertaining to commemorative purchasing and collecting, heritage management, perpetuating mass and social media narratives, supporting and perpetuating brands, and spawning and maintaining touristic trends. We observe that successful royal influence is due in part to the ability to leverage key universal narratives (e.g. the triumph of the underdog) and to tap into consumers’ desires to vicariously or actively engage with lifestyles typically accessible only to people who occupy the highest social stratum in their respective cultures. We discuss the implications of royalty on consumer culture, and suggest areas of future research.
... "Nonmaterial" policies may affect the distribution of material goods, not least because implementing them normally entails material costs. For instance, European nobles supported sumptuary laws forbidding commoners from wearing colors like purple or fabrics like velvet (Muzzarelli 2009;Phillips 2007). Although society suffered from both enforcement costs and commoners' loss of utility, the nobility enjoyed officially enforced status symbols. ...
Economic development generally promotes women’s autonomy. Yet women in resource-rich autocracies fare more poorly than women in similarly wealthy industrial and postindustrial states. Some attribute this puzzling outcome to cultural causes, describing the apparent link between restrictions on women’s autonomy in resource-rich countries (especially in the Middle East) as spurious. Others argue that oil and gas rents cause a gendered resource curse through macroeconomic mechanisms. By contrast, we explain the association as a consequence of a political mechanism. We propose a theory of autocratic survival via antisocial policies chosen for the harms they inflict on targeted groups. Autocrats need to placate ideologically motivated members of their winning coalition. Antisocial policies serve as a costly and visible measure of rulers’ fidelity to these winning coalition members. Resource rents enable rulers to afford such policies, which would be infeasible in tax-reliant regimes. Restricting women’s autonomy thus forms part of a strategy of autocratic rule in resource-rich autocracies. Using quantitative evidence, we demonstrate that variations in women’s autonomy correlate with variations in oil income per capita in cross-country regressions. To trace variations within cases, we present case studies of Saudi Arabia and Iran to demonstrate processes consonant with our theory.
Marriage was a prominent ‘life-stage’ ritual linked to achievement of the hegemonic manly state in the early modern period: it was associated with self-control and was seen as a stabilising force against the ‘follies of youth’. James IV (1488–1513), James V (1513–1542) and James VI (1567–1625) came to the throne as minors and their weddings provided particularly potent opportunities for shaping their identity both at home and abroad. Clothing was a crucial element of the social dialogue performed by both men and women in late medieval and early modern Europe. Dress, of the royal person and of others, was a mode of display in which all three monarchs invested heavily at the moment of their weddings. By offering a comparative analysis of the investment in sartorial splendour and the use of dress and personal adornment through a gendered lens, this article demonstrates how clothing and adornments were used to make statements about both manhood and royal status by three sixteenth-century Stewart kings attempting to secure their place in the homosocial hierarchy.
This article discusses the clothing choices of Theresa May as a female Member of Parliament (MP) and as the second woman prime minister of Great Britain. A Conservative MP since 1997 with a conservative background growing up a Vicar’s daughter and grammar school education, Mrs May’s sartorial choices have evolved to conform with an understanding of female MP’s as proxy men and to reflect British national dress as defined by tradition. However, within this conservative persona, a discordant note is struck by her choice of shoes. Not always neutral, in this article, her choice of fabric is examined as a form of ‘everyday resistance’. Compromised as these choices are, her choice of leopard print kitten heels is suggested as a form of subaltern resistance.
The concept of sufficiency—what it meant to have enough—was fundamentally a religious category in early modern England, debated through a series of scriptural passages, notably the petition in the Lord’s Prayer for daily bread. In the era of the Reformation, Protestant writers interpreted these passages to require the equitable redistribution of wealth so that everyone might have enough. In the increasingly capitalist context of Elizabethan and Stuart England, however, these passages were reinterpreted to authorize private wealth, culminating in the work of John Locke, for whom the accumulation of riches represented sufficiency rather than excess because money, unlike bread, does not spoil. This article thus traces the process by which the Christian ethics of sufficiency ceased to provide a theoretical constraint upon capitalism.
Kingship and Masculinity in Late Medieval England explores the dynamic between kingship and masculinity in fifteenth century England, with a particular focus on Henry V and Henry VI. The role of gender in the rhetoric and practice of medieval kingship is still largely unexplored by medieval historians. Discourses of masculinity informed much of the contemporary comment on fifteenth century kings, for a variety of purposes: to praise and eulogise but also to explain shortcomings and provide justification for deposition.
This article is an analysis of the 1453 treatise written by the Bolognese noblewoman, Nicolosa Sanuti, demanding the repeal of Cardinal Giovanni Bessarion's sumptuary law of the same year. It is accompanied by the first English translation of the treatise. Whilst questions of authorship and of translator into latin are addressed, the bulk of the article concerns the contents of the treatise. It is argued that the treatise is remarkable in many ways. In the context of protests against sumptuary legislation, it was the lengthiest appeal made during the Renaissance in Italy and was also the only one to question the ideological assumptions of sumptuary law. In the context of humanist debate as to the proper position of women in society, its declared subject was to become a springboard to a discussion of the merits of all women, and of noblewomen in particular. Finally, it is argued, this treatise was the first public defence of women in Italy conceived by a woman. Nicolosa Sanuti's treatise, then, is seen not simply in the context of sumptuary law protests, but as perhaps the earliest Italian contribution by a woman to the ongoing humanist debate concerning the nature and status of women.