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Through the Wardrobe: Women's Relationships with Their Clothes

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Abstract

Relating to clothes is a fundamental experience in the lives of most Western women. Even when choice is fraught with ambivalence, clothing matters. From considerations about dressing for success, to worries about weight, through to investing particular articles of clothing with meaning bordering on the sacred, what we wear speaks volumes about personal identity - what is revealed, what is concealed, what is created. This book fills a gap in the existing literature on the ambivalence of fashion and dress by drawing on a wide range of women's experiences with their wardrobes and providing empirical data noticeably absent from other studies of women and dress. Navigating what is clearly a contested realm in feminist scholarship, contributors provide rich case studies of the reality of women's relationships with clothing. While on the surface concerns about fashion or dress may appear to reflect gendered patterns, in fact clothing may be used to challenge ascribed meanings about femininity.

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... Transcripts based on conversations with Rebecca, Kris, Paula and Lisette and photographs of them inspire poems, collages, drawings and paintings, embracing the idea that visual and poetic ways of knowing are discrete, connected, unique and taken for granted ways of understanding and performing scholarship, of being in and knowing the world. Situated in the theoretical arenas of arts informed research and social theory on the body and clothing, the poetry, drawings and paintings confirm Kaiser, Chandler and Hammidi (2001) and Green's (2001) assertions that female scholars strategize through dress in order to assert a scholarly identity and authority. Clothes are negotiated expressions of self and visual identity with the body as mediator (Braziel and ). ...
... Minimal scholarly work exists on the social theory of dress in relationship to scholarship, and to date I have not encountered artsinformed research on dress and the professoriate. I found two studies carried out in the United Kingdom that focus on social theory of female scholars and dress (Green, 2001;Kaiser, Chandler, and Hammidi, 2001). Green (2001) argues that female academics strategize through dress, which is key to "any intervention in academic debate…women professors in particular, are exposed as visibly female bodies intervening in what is overwhelmingly male territory" (p. ...
... I found two studies carried out in the United Kingdom that focus on social theory of female scholars and dress (Green, 2001;Kaiser, Chandler, and Hammidi, 2001). Green (2001) argues that female academics strategize through dress, which is key to "any intervention in academic debate…women professors in particular, are exposed as visibly female bodies intervening in what is overwhelmingly male territory" (p. 98). ...
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This is a visual and textual inquiry into the aesthetics of female scholarship as re/presented and lived through the clothed, disciplined/transgressing bodies of female scholars. In the tradition of arts‐informed research (Cole and Knowles, 2007), through image and text situated meanings of scholarship and visual identity are analyzed, poetized, re/created and re/presented. Transcripts based on conversations with Rebecca, Kris, Paula and Lisette and photographs of them inspire poems, collages, drawings and paintings, embracing the idea that visual and poetic ways of knowing are discrete, connected, unique and taken for granted ways of understanding and performing scholarship, of being in and knowing the world. Situated in the theoretical arenas of arts informed research and social theory on the body and clothing, the poetry, drawings and paintings confirm Kaiser, Chandler and Hammidi (2001) and Green’s (2001) assertions that female scholars strategize through dress in order to assert a scholarly identity and authority. Clothes are negotiated expressions of self and visual identity with the body as mediator (Braziel and LeBesco, 2001; Butler, 1993; Davis, 1997; Holliday and Hassard 2001; Shilling, 1993); clothing choices (in university settings) are gendered (Butler, 1999; Kirkham, 1996; Sanders, 1996). The poems and images speak of survival, pain, growth and stagnation; they make visible aspects of how identity and scholarship is embodied, lived and re/presented; they provide opportunities to reflect on arts‐informed research, the aesthetics of the clothed body, the body and social theory, and the semiotics of clothing.
... If a fashion garment no longer suits the desired image or ideology of the wearer then it will surely be cast aside. Garments that are attributed to 'discontinued identities' are unlikely to be worn again (Banim & Guy, 2001). Any fashion garment that plays an active role within the wardrobe must connect to the wearer's current perception of themselves (Banim & Guy, 2001. ...
... Garments that are attributed to 'discontinued identities' are unlikely to be worn again (Banim & Guy, 2001). Any fashion garment that plays an active role within the wardrobe must connect to the wearer's current perception of themselves (Banim & Guy, 2001. By holding onto garments that represent their 'discontinued identities', women have a visible testament to who they are not (Banim & Guy, 2001). ...
... Any fashion garment that plays an active role within the wardrobe must connect to the wearer's current perception of themselves (Banim & Guy, 2001. By holding onto garments that represent their 'discontinued identities', women have a visible testament to who they are not (Banim & Guy, 2001). These garments represent where they have moved on from, or may relate to what or whom they have chosen to leave in the past. ...
... 287). Twigg (2007) acknowledged that post-feminist writing has broadened the concept of dress to acknowledge everyday dress as a source of aesthetic pleasure, self-development, and personal reflexivity (e.g., Dumas, Laberge, & Straka, 2005;Guy et al., 2001;Tseelon, 1995). But again, older women's viewpoints on dress-whether everyday clothes or elite fashion-are conspicuously absent in both the dress literature and the feminist literature. ...
... 7), an absence in the leisure literature to date. Although some authors (e.g., Domash & Seager, 2001;Fussell, 2002) highlight how dress embodies discipline and control in public settings, particularly in regard to women as 'dupes' of the fashion system (Guy et al., 2001, p. 7), Red Hatters clearly expressed the pleasure, freedom and "absolutely blissful" enjoyment they derived from experimenting with clothed images and identities. This finding roundly challenges the contention that women are merely "targets" of the fashion system (e.g., Barthes, 1983;Wearing, 1995Wearing, , 1998. ...
... Personal experience, however, tells us that clothes often have minds of their own and seem to enjoy deliberately or mischievously thwarting our intentions. We have remembered to iron our 'best' dress and put it away carefully, so why, on an evening when we really need it, does it come out of the wardrobe looking like a rag?" [41] (pp. [3][4]. ...
... Building up a reliable set of clothes involves expending not just money and time but real energy and almost an emotional commitment. [41] (p. 4). ...
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The current patterns of production and consumption of clothes are known for their negative impacts on our planet, and the efforts towards a responsible fashion system must come from industry and users alike. Whereas the fashion industry may focus on achieving eco-efficiency, designers need to engage the wearers in long-term commitment with their clothes to counteract the ongoing increase of textile waste. However, current design strategies for product attachment have proven that it is difficult to succeed at this mission. In this paper we introduce the focus and theoretical framework of a research project that aims to study the relationship between wearers and clothes. We present our research perspective through a literature review that is supported by empirical testimonies of dozens of women, whose words illustrate the complexity of human relationships with garments. When we compare our connection with clothes to interpersonal love relationships, we find that the similarities are significant enough to justify a different approach in design practice, and we suggest a re-focus on the existing wearer–clothing relationships.
... So as dress has been historically seen as a marker of gender differences, it can also be used as a lens for exploring how identities take shape. This has, as established earlier, been the subject of much interdisciplinary academic discussion (see for example: Finkelstein, 1991;Brydon and Niessen, 1998;Entwistle, 2000a;Entwistle and Wilson, 2001;Guy et al., 2001;Keenan, 2001;Bolich, 2006). The dressed body and its interactions with the social world are regarded here as expressive of identity. ...
... This reminds us of Wendy"s need to mobilise a different type of underwear to perform a different identity opsy. Similarly Kerry"s friend uses different underwear to perform a different identity opsy, that of a sexual partner, illustrating thus the complex, dynamic and performative character of a woman"s identity project (Entwistle, 2001;Guy et al., 2001;Keenan, 2001;Tseëlon, 2001following Goffman, 1990). In the process of constructing and assembling a sense of "who I am", women seem to mobilise various ways to help them "switch" to the identity opsy that they are called to perform. ...
... Finally the search for and wearing of vintage is about satisfying personal desires, needs, and motivations (Guy et al. 2001). This is how products make people feel special. ...
Article
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Vintage clothing represents a growing trend in the art of creating a personal and individual look among five distinctly different and decidedly creative women, each with over 10 years of experience buying and wearing vintage dress. Making discriminating clothing selections to reveal an authentic self is what pursuing vintage is all about for them. The search for and wearing of vintage is about satisfying personal desires, needs, and motivations. It is also about shopping for identities, constructing images that include presenting status and identities in public, as well as revealing and concealing our private selves. The “way we look” involves not only how we perceive and discriminate clothing, but how we create a unique appearance through selecting and combining clothing ensembles, designing the body, and the reasoning that goes into that process. Shopping and wearing vintage is like being your own designer because you can choose and combine your ensemble from a variety of eras including contemporary, thereby creating a new and unique identity. In the 21st century knowing how to create a unique look in an otherwise bland mass-produced market may be a way to regain one's individuality through re-valuing and reuse, and redefine fashion in the process.
... Sociological studies of women's relationship with clothes show that women often create identity and express themselves through their clothes (Guy et al, 2001) (Woodward, 2008). In analyses of women's use of clothing from an environmental perspective, it is interesting to look into factors which shape these practices, especially the social dimensions of self-expression. ...
... På så sätt kan en diskrepans mellan inre och yttre klädlagers symbolik utgöra grund för en möjlighet att låta den dramatiserande dialogen mellan jaget och miget anta en form som delvis undkommer inverkan från andra indi-viders blickar, kommentarer och reaktioner. Denna tanke har även Guy et al. (2001) intresserat sig för och lägger tonvikten vid spänningen mellan vad som försiggår mellan intern och extern konversation varvid de hävdar att "[o]ur dressed selves illustrate this reflexivity as we express ourselves through our clothes; but also, the images we see when we are dressed in our clothes provides [sic!] us with meanings about ourselves" (ibid: 8). ...
... The sheer volume and diversity of contemporary scholarly work that now characterize "the sociology of the body" is itself impressive. Simply considering a relatively small sample of published books, it is apparent that bodies are socially constructed (Crossley 2001;Featherstone, hepworth, and Turner 1991;Shilling 2003;Synnott 1993;Turner 1984), gendered (Backett-Milburn and Mckie 2001), sexed and sexualized (Fausto-Sterling 2000;Grosz, Probyn, and Grosz 1995;laqueur 1992), customized (Demello 2000;Featherstone 2000;Gay and Whittington 2002;Hewitt 1997;Mifflin 2001;Pitts 2003;Sanders 1989) as well as fashioned (Calefato 2004;Entwistle 2000;Guy, Green, and Banim 2003;Virgili and hodkinson 2002), electrified and digitized (Springer 1996), posthuman (Halberstam and Livingston 1995), objectified (Foster 1995;Tebbel 2003), overtaken by panic (Kroker and Kroker 1987), ascended to the heights of the mystical and sacred (Moore 1998;Newell 2002) as well as descended to the depths of the stigmatized and the freakish (Covino 2004;Elson 2004;Goffman 1963;Lebesco 2004;Thomson 1996), commodified (Falk 1994;Scheper-Hughes and Wacquant 2003), subject to the discipline of fitness, training, and diet (Moore 1997;Pronger 2002), fetishized (Stratton 2001) and, of course, subject to the politics of gender and sexual orientation (atkins 1998;Birke 1999;Bordo 2000;Brook 1999;Burt 1995;Weitz 2002), and race and ethnicity (Mohanram 2004). Indeed, "there are many bodies social, and they are hard to count. ...
Article
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The body and experiences of embodiment have generated a rich and diverse sociological literature. This volume articulates and illustrates one major approach to the sociology of the body: Symbolic interactionism, an increasingly prevalent theoretical base of contemporary sociology derived from the pragmatism of writers such as John Dewey, William James, Charles Peirce, Charles Cooley and George Herbert Mead.The authors argue that, from an interactionist perspective, the body is much more than a tangible, corporeal object - it is a vessel of great significance to the individual and society. From this perspective, body, self and social interaction are intimately interrelated and constantly reconfigured.The collection constitutes a unique anthology of empirical research on the body, from health and illness to sexuality, from beauty and imagery to bodily performance in sport and art, and from mediated communication to plastic surgery. The contributions are informed by innovative interactionist theory, offering fresh insights into one of the fastest growing sub-disciplines of sociology and cultural studies.
... The sheer volume and diversity of contemporary scholarly work that now characterize "the sociology of the body" is itself impressive. Simply considering a relatively small sample of published books, it is apparent that bodies are socially constructed (Crossley 2001;Featherstone, hepworth, and Turner 1991;Shilling 2003;Synnott 1993;Turner 1984), gendered (Backett-Milburn and Mckie 2001), sexed and sexualized (Fausto-Sterling 2000;Grosz, Probyn, and Grosz 1995;laqueur 1992), customized (Demello 2000;Featherstone 2000;Gay and Whittington 2002;Hewitt 1997;Mifflin 2001;Pitts 2003;Sanders 1989) as well as fashioned (Calefato 2004;Entwistle 2000;Guy, Green, and Banim 2003;Virgili and hodkinson 2002), electrified and digitized (Springer 1996), posthuman (Halberstam and Livingston 1995), objectified (Foster 1995;Tebbel 2003), overtaken by panic (Kroker and Kroker 1987), ascended to the heights of the mystical and sacred (Moore 1998;Newell 2002) as well as descended to the depths of the stigmatized and the freakish (Covino 2004;Elson 2004;Goffman 1963;Lebesco 2004;Thomson 1996), commodified (Falk 1994;Scheper-Hughes and Wacquant 2003), subject to the discipline of fitness, training, and diet (Moore 1997;Pronger 2002), fetishized (Stratton 2001) and, of course, subject to the politics of gender and sexual orientation (atkins 1998;Birke 1999;Bordo 2000;Brook 1999;Burt 1995;Weitz 2002), and race and ethnicity (Mohanram 2004). Indeed, "there are many bodies social, and they are hard to count. ...
... Oral history accounts are recognised as important sources for the study of textiles and dress (e.g. Biddle-Perry 2005; Burman 1999; Guy et al. 2001;Lomas 2000). Sound recordings and their transcriptions may be viewed as research tools and as a means of archive creation (Samuel 1998: 391-2). ...
Article
Oral history accounts (sound recordings and their transcriptions) are important sources for the study of textiles and dress. This paper demonstrates the value of such accounts for the Deliberately Concealed Garments Project (DCGP), set up to document garments and other things found deliberately concealed within buildings. This paper focuses on one oral history account of the Sittingbourne Cache, the collective name for over 500 items found within an old public house in Sittingbourne, Kent, UK. The account provides information about the location of the cache sites within the building and the circumstances of the 'excavation' of the finds. It also provides a vivid record of the finder's excitement at the discovery. Understanding the views and attitudes of finders was important for developing the conservation strategy of the DCGP and led to a focus on measures to raise public awareness of the practice of concealment and the evidential significance of finds and cache sites. The DCGP provides a useful model of 'material culture' , not as a new term for artefacts, but as the inter-connection of persons, artefacts and language. In the case of the DCGP the interconnections are shown to be between: the persons who hide, discover, report, curate, conserve and study caches; the artefacts that are involved in the concealments (e.g. buildings and garments); and, the language used to describe the practice. The oral history accounts of the DCGP provide a rich illustration of material culture as linking persons to language (in both speech and text) with textiles.
... The sheer volume and diversity of contemporary scholarly work that now characterize "the sociology of the body" is itself impressive. Simply considering a relatively small sample of published books, it is apparent that bodies are socially constructed (Crossley 2001;Featherstone, hepworth, and Turner 1991;Shilling 2003;Synnott 1993;Turner 1984), gendered (Backett-Milburn and Mckie 2001), sexed and sexualized (Fausto-Sterling 2000;Grosz, Probyn, and Grosz 1995;laqueur 1992), customized (Demello 2000;Featherstone 2000;Gay and Whittington 2002;Hewitt 1997;Mifflin 2001;Pitts 2003;Sanders 1989) as well as fashioned (Calefato 2004;Entwistle 2000;Guy, Green, and Banim 2003;Virgili and hodkinson 2002), electrified and digitized (Springer 1996), posthuman (Halberstam and Livingston 1995), objectified (Foster 1995;Tebbel 2003), overtaken by panic (Kroker and Kroker 1987), ascended to the heights of the mystical and sacred (Moore 1998;Newell 2002) as well as descended to the depths of the stigmatized and the freakish (Covino 2004;Elson 2004;Goffman 1963;Lebesco 2004;Thomson 1996), commodified (Falk 1994;Scheper-Hughes and Wacquant 2003), subject to the discipline of fitness, training, and diet (Moore 1997;Pronger 2002), fetishized (Stratton 2001) and, of course, subject to the politics of gender and sexual orientation (atkins 1998;Birke 1999;Bordo 2000;Brook 1999;Burt 1995;Weitz 2002), and race and ethnicity (Mohanram 2004). Indeed, "there are many bodies social, and they are hard to count. ...
Chapter
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... I will describe later in this paper clothing pieces that serve multiple roles, or cross-over pieces, which are key in crafting our presentation as we toggle between roles. If my outfit supports multiple roles, my day is simplified and requires less of my energy and thought about my presentation, which can bolster my confidence and allow me to be more focused on whatever task or experience is at hand (Guy et al., 2001). For example, a casual outfit that is comfortable could also make a positive impression to any potential clients I might happen to run into in my leisure time, then this supports several dimensions or roles within my identity. ...
Article
The new field of positive psychology offers an opportunity to study what healthy people need in order to flourish. Just as eating, sleeping, and working are part of a fulfilling life, both how we experience ourselves and how others experience us, our identity, is a foundational pathway for creating relationships and producing well-being. Presenting oneself visually through the body and its adornment is a way in which we share ourselves and relate to others in the world. I argue in this capstone that self-presentation through the body and clothing is an omnipresent leverage point in shaping one’s identity in positive ways. This capstone draws on relevant literature from psychology and sociology to propose an intervention designed to support identity crafting through self-presentation and clothing on an ongoing basis.
... The body is seen as a part of one's self that is open to revision through transformation of its shape, weight and contours through exercising, diet, make up, cosmetic surgery and clothes. According to Guy, Green and Banim (2001) women can reveal their 'true selves' through clothing choices that detract or attract attention to them. Gillen (2001) observes that as women seek to project an image acceptable to themselves and for psychological comfort during different occasions. ...
... The wardrobe interview (Banim -Guy 2001), widely used in design research, has allowed to shed light on the entwining material, expressive, emotional aspects of clothing. Iltanen and Topo (2015), in their detailed description and discussion of the object elicitation method, also talk about the challenges of analysing multisensory and multilevel data obtained from such a process. ...
Article
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The present article presents and discusses a creative method for researching subjectivities in social inquiry: making objects or models. It is a method used in organisational development, in supporting creative problem solving and, albeit marginally, in media studies. I frame this method in the arts-based collaborative research tradition, using the extended epistemology of Heron and Reason (1997), to explain its potential to reach profound meanings in a vivid form. I also connect this method to other strands of methodological reflection, such as qualitative inquiry, visual studies and the study of materiality, as to argument its applications both as a research and as an action method. Moreover, I present a test of this method with PhD students and professionals in sociology, aimed at experiencing and discussing, within the expert panel, its potentialities and limitations. In conclusion, the method presents good possibilities for involving participants in expressing meanings at various levels and forms (individual/group, connected to the past/generated in the interaction, implicit/explicit, verbal/sensuous etc.), facilitates participation to the task, it is fun and allows for various types of analysis of the rich material it produces. Its role in generating change, though, is bound to how the whole participatory action research project is designed, especially to which stake-holders are actively involved in problem solving processes and to the formulation of the topic to be modelled, which should be as close as possible to the problems that need to be tackled.
... This more complex account of identity fits well with the tradition in dress studies that, drawing on social anthropological influences, has emphasised the lived experience of dress, and the ways in which individuals construct their identities through everyday, embodied practices of selecting, managing, and wearing clothes, contextualising them within their lives, and specific interactional contexts (Guy, Green, & Banim, 2001;Weber & Mitchell, 2004). Here meaning is generated and negotiated at the level of the individual rather than in top down processes of ascription (Woodward, 2007). ...
Article
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The article explores the significance of dress in the embodied experience of dementia, exploring questions of identity, memory and relationship. It suggests that clothing and dress are important in the analysis of the day-to-day experiences of people with dementia, giving access to dimensions of selfhood often ignored in over-cognitive accounts of being. As a result clothing and dress can be significant to the provision of person-centred dementia care. These arguments are explored through ideas of embodied identity, the materialisation of memories, and the maintenance, or otherwise, of appearance in care. The article forms part of the background to an ESRC-funded empirical study exploring the role of clothing and dress in the everyday lives of people with dementia, living at home or in care homes, and of their relatives.
... Clothing is that which is worn, but fashion is what that clothing means to oneself and others. Deciding what to wear is a crucial part of identity construction for most Western women (Banim, Green & Guy, 2001) as there is no neutral or "unmarked" choice (Tannen, 1993). In her book Why Women Wear What They Wear, Woodward (2007) explains, "As she chooses what to wear, she has to negotiate a balance between fitting in, dressing appropriately and looking and feeling like herself. ...
Article
This paper examines a vibrant online community called Female Fashion Advice, which exemplifies convergence culture because its members both produce and consume its content. This large subreddit offers a compelling alternative to traditional fashion journalism and empowers women to partake in a hobby that has been denigrated due to its association with femininity. Using grounded practical theory, we found that fashion is treated as serious leisure, as evidenced by displays of personal effort, career progress, and an emphasis on enduring benefits. However, women in this community also struggle to keep fashion from becoming unpaid labor. The tension between leisure and labor emerged as women discussed fashion as meaningful, enjoyable, and enriching, but also stressful and socially required. We argue that this is an aspect of convergence culture, which has collapsed the distinction between media producers and consumers, and therefore made the line between leisure and labor blurry.
... Nostalgia refers to "a longing for the past" (Holbrook, 1993, p. 245), and researchers suggest that nostalgia is a significant motivation for consumers embracing vintage aesthetics (Veenstra & Kuipers, 2013). Individuals sometimes embrace vintage aesthetics alongside contemporary garments to create a look that helps express a part of their identity in a unique way (DeLong et al., 2005), or the desire to meet personal needs and motivations (Guy et al., 2001). In the later 2010s fashion market, vintage styles of the 1990s were re-introduced where numerous mainstream fashion companies capitalized on the nostalgic trend of 1990s clothing (Hughes, 2016). ...
Article
In New York City in the late 1970s, the Black community created hip-hop, a significant cultural phenomenon, which has since spread around the world. Our research is centered on the revolutionary hip-hop fashion movement in Black history as it relates to Black millennials’ experiences of fashioning their bodies. We examine the perception of Black millennials who are attending or have attended historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) and their knowledge and perceptions of prominent Black-owned, urban fashion brands that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. Additionally, we seek to understand how or if these brands influence Black millennial consumers and their stylistic choices today. We used a qualitative approach and conducted 14 in-depth, semistructured interviews. Based on analysis of the data, we identified four themes: awareness of urban styles; ambiguous perceptions; 1980s and 1990s urban style influence; and awareness of cultural appropriation. We offer implications to the apparel industry.
... Throughout human history, individuals ingeniously made use of various materials close to their bodies-for protection, comfort, and aesthetic aspects. Particularly, textiles and clothes, which throughout the "long and intimate" (O'Connor, 2010) connection with people, were key in symbolic representations of self (e.g., identity, gender, age, class, political views, as well as a variety of social values; Guy et al., 2001;Weber and Mitchell, 2004;Mida and Kim, 2015), in the reproduction of social order (e.g., in making social differences visible, see Entwistle, 2000;Breward, 2003;Crane, 2012), in embodying culture (memory, history, and identity), and in "transforming, protecting, and healing the human body" (O'Connor, 2010; see also Hansen, 2004;Brumfield, 2006). Many times, textiles have been used with varying degrees of explicitness as a medium to record history or to "provide a focus for the expression of conflict or reflect commentary on current affairs" (Henderson, 1990). ...
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In his paper “Whatever next? Predictive brains, situated agents, and the future of cognitive science,” Andy Clark seminally proposed that the brain's job is to predict whatever information is coming “next” on the basis of prior inputs and experiences. Perception fundamentally subserves survival and self-preservation in biological agents, such as humans. Survival however crucially depends on rapid and accurate information processing of what is happening in the here and now. Hence, the term “next” in Clark's seminal formulation must include not only the temporal dimension (i.e., what is perceived now) but also the spatial dimension (i.e., what is perceived here or next-to-my-body). In this paper, we propose to focus on perceptual experiences that happen “next,” i.e., close-to-my-body. This is because perceptual processing of proximal sensory inputs has a key impact on the organism's survival. Specifically, we focus on tactile experiences mediated by the skin and what we will call the “extended skin” or “second skin,” that is, immediate objects/materials that envelop closely to our skin, namely, clothes. We propose that the skin and tactile experiences are not a mere border separating the self and world. Rather, they simultaneously and inherently distinguish and connect the bodily self to its environment. Hence, these proximal and pervasive tactile experiences can be viewed as a “transparent bridge” intrinsically relating and facilitating exchanges between the self and the physical and social world. We conclude with potential implications of this observation for the case of Depersonalization Disorder, a condition that makes people feel estranged and detached from their self, body, and the world.
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This study analyzes the motives of Korean women for choosing breast augmentation in a cultural and relational context; in addition, it investigates their evaluations after surgery. Data was collected through in-depth interviews with 10 Korean women in their 20s and 30s who have received cosmetic breast augmentation. Enlarged and made-up breasts are a form of clothing that symbolizes the socio-economic status of women. In the vertical and individualized Korean society, the desire of women for a fashionable body invigorated the appearance management market. Fashion consumers have passively internalized the ideal body trends as the concept of the ideal body-image, which has been constructed by the social structure, markets, and the media. The analysis was rooted in post-modern feminist perspectives on the female body. The ideal body-image internalization process through the social interactions of participants was the main cultural factor to choose breast surgery. The self-image and conformity/individuality of participant were categorized as relational factors for the motivation to undergo breast surgery. The result showed that after surgery the participants achieved positive feedback from their social relationships. They expressed or hid their socio-economic statuses through their purchased fashion bodies. They also showed higher self-esteem and feelings of satisfaction by pursuing individuality and conformity as a member of society. Moreover, they achieved wider fashion options and greater controls over their public/private/secret clothing choices for certain occasions. Cosmetic breast surgery positively empowered individual women while reinforcing the socially manipulated body ideals that oppress women at the same time. Participants internalized socially constructed values and justified their surgery choices.
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This copy of the thesis has been supplied on condition that anyone who consults it is understood to recognise that its copyright rests with the author and that no quotation from the thesis, nor any information derived therefrom, may be published without the author's prior, written consent.
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The article explores the neglected subject of clothing and dementia. Addressing questions of the body, identity and selfhood, it argues – against the dominant understanding – that clothes continue to be significant in the lives and wellbeing of people with dementia. Drawing on new theorising that emphasises the embodied nature of selfhood, the article explores the role of clothing in the maintenance of identity; its nature as the ‘environment closest in’; its significance in social interaction; and its potential character as an agent of control and normativity. The article concludes that clothing and dress offer a potentially interesting field in which we can explore the nature of personhood in dementia, and in ways that offer insights into forms of response through which individuality and selfhood can be recognised, maintained and enhanced.
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Purpose – The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of aesthetics in female consumers' evaluation of apparel quality during the decision‐making process. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative research style was followed and unstructured interviews and focus group interviews were chosen as data‐collection methods. A total of 45 unstructured interviews were held with 15 adult career women. The researchers used certain stimuli during the interviews, the aim of which was to give the participants something concrete to react to, and to put them in a specific decision‐making situation. Findings – It was found that the sensory, emotional and cognitive dimensions of the aesthetic experience play a major role when female consumers evaluate the quality of apparel products during the decision‐making stage. The product's design and materials bring about these aesthetic dimensions. Especially colour and texture play major roles in bringing about the necessary aesthetic experiences. Originality/value – Retailers and e‐tailers should purposively draw their customers' attentions to the linkage between physical properties that influence important functional properties that may play a role in the satisfaction that consumers will experience when wearing the item. Findings have further implications for retailers' and e‐tailers' fashion merchandising strategies related to buyers and visual merchandisers.
Chapter
In the spring and summer of 2008, the American media was full of a controversy involving the families of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the state of Texas, USA (New York Times 2011). The almost iconic representation of the FLDS became the women of the group in their distinctive dresses and hairstyles. These women wore “prairie” style dresses with below the knee skirts, identical except for their pastel colors, and their long hair in nearly identical braided styles. Some small differentiation based on age and status—married/unmarried and adult/child—existed.
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Clothes are central to how we perform our identities. In this article we show how these processes continue to operate in the lives of people with dementia, exploring the ways in which dress offers a means of maintaining continuity of self at a material, embodied level. The article thus contributes to the wider cultural turn in ageing studies, showing how material objects are significant in meaning making even for this mentally frail group. The article draws on an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded study “Dementia and Dress”, examining the implications of clothing for people with dementia, carers and careworkers, using ethnographic and qualitative methods. It showed, despite assumptions to the contrary, that dress remained significant for people with dementia, continuing to underwrite identity at both the individual level of a personal aesthetic, and the social level of structural categories, such as class, gender and generation. The article explores how identity is performed through dress in social interaction, and the tensions that can arise between narrative and embodied enactment, and around the “curation” of identity. Dress provides a lens for understanding the lives of people with dementia; while at the same time, focusing on dementia expands discussions of fashion, consumption and cultural meanings of ageing.
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This article analyzes the conditions of employment in fashion retailing, arguing that fashion retailing constitutes a distinct sector of retailing. The fashion commodity chain is characterized by a unique spatiality and temporality and as a result, female retail workers share much in common with women situated at production, advertising and consumption sites in the chain. Given that many of the issues women confront at different sites are similar, the sector is amenable to organizing across the chain.
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W tekście przedstawione jest narzędzie badawcze opracowane z myślą o badaniu ubierania się jako działania społecznego. Celem artykułu jest szczegółowy opis techniki (zwanej w artykule „moja szafa”), która stanowi połączenie wywiadu i obserwacji dotyczących zawartości szafy i sposobów użytkowania znajdujących się tam ubrań. Technika ta, poprzez specyficzny dobór materiałów zastanych (ubrania w szafie) oraz etapowy scenariusz badania, umożliwia inny niż tylko dzięki zastosowaniu samego wywiadu dostęp do rzeczywistości społecznej, która toczy się bez udziału badacza. W wyniku jej zastosowania wiedza spekulatywna badanych dotycząca znaczenia ubrania zostaje skonfrontowana z wiedzą pragmatyczną wynikającą z doświadczenia użytkowania ubrań.
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Isu jilbab di Indonesia banyak memiliki perbedaan bila dibandingkan dengan isu semisal di Timur Tengah. Di Indonesia, perdebatannya adalah antara mereka yang “mau mengenakan” dan mereka yang “tidak mau mengenakan”. Sedangkan di dunia Arab, perdebatannya adalah antara mereka yang “mau mempertahankan” dengan yang “mau menanggalkan” (hijâb versus sufûr). Selagi di Indonesia orang berdebat tentang apakah mengenakan jilbab itu kewajiban Islami atau sebagai adat Arab tentang kesantunan; di dunia Arab baik Muslim maupun non-Muslim yang telah berabad-abad mengenakan jilbab menanggalkannya sebagai bentuk perlawanan terhadap tradisi patriarki dan atau simbol modernitas. Demikian pula secara geografis, jika di Indonesia gerakan berjilbab adalah gerakan kaum urban, di Arab kaum urban-lah justru yang memulai gerakan menanggalkan jilbab.
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In order to change consumption patterns into something that is more sustainable, it is essential that we consider the various and conflicting meanings clothes have in people’s lives. This article presents an analysis of diaries written by consumers of different ages and occupations over a period of three months in 2015. These consumers documented their clothing and shoe purchases, took inventory of the contents of their wardrobes, and reflected upon their clothing consumption. The aim of this study is to examine consumers’ use and consumption of clothing and how they deal with dissonances in relation to what they see as ‘sustainable’. What motivated their consumption? What compromisesdid they make? and What were the processes that determined their choices? The authors of the diaries claimed that they wanted to con�sume clothing in a sustainable manner, but they found that they did not. Direct criticism of the fashion system was often elusive and difficult for them to articulate. Consequently, instead of asking for the creation of a different fashion system, the authors of the diaries blamed them�selves for their failures with respect to sustainable clothing consumption. Drawing on Affect Theory, the article discusses how emotional attach�ments informed the authors’ relationships with their wardrobes and the conflicting emotions surrounding the pleasure and pain of fashion. In their texts, they provided a number of different explanations as to why they bought, kept, and used clothes to justify why they consumed cloth�ing even if they did not want to consume or felt that they should not. The diarists also remarked on how this made them feel about their con�sumption. Some claimed to “love” fashion. Others wrote they “hated fashion”, whilst others stated that they “didn’t care at all”. However, as was the case for all of the authors, the dream of owning a ‘perfect’ wardrobe pervaded their texts and worked as a way for them to deal with the dilemmas, contradictions, and struggles of fashion.
Thesis
En la época de la Colonia en México, la indumentaria indígena fue relegada por un proceso de discriminación y racismo por parte de los conquistadores españoles; sin embargo, y desde hace algunas décadas, este tipo de prendas se ha convertido en una fuente constante de inspiración en la moda y el diseño. ¿Cuál es el proceso, retomando a Bourdieu (2005), de transustanciación por el que estos objetos atraviesan para transformar su valor y significación en la época contemporánea y en un contexto urbano? A pesar de que hablamos de un fenómeno global, en México, la moda “étnica” adquiere particularidades que obedecen a la diversidad pluricultural de las comunidades indígenas que habitan en el territorio nacional y a los obstáculos que atraviesan, como lo es la cuestión poco resuelta hasta nuestros días de la propiedad intelectual. En este contexto, el proceso creativo se torna fundamental ya que es en ese proceso en el que se observa el entrecruce de saberes entre artesanos y diseñadores de moda y se determina, en gran medida, el producto final. En otro nivel de reflexión, esta investigación ahonda en la apelación de “étnico” en el diseño y la moda como un discurso cargado de exotismo y otredad, vinculado con la estética y el arte occidental contemporáneo. El hilo conductor del análisis es el concepto fashion-ology (Kawamura, 2005) que permite trazar la historia del textil, su impacto y su reinvención en un ciclo que comienza en la fase de la inspiración, continúa con la producción, el marketing, la distribución y finaliza con el consumo.
Chapter
Fashion is a domain that poses new and interesting challenges for recommender systems. While most recommendation problems seek a single-point solution (e.g. a product the user will purchase), individual garments must function within a wardrobe system, and must ultimately be matched with other garments to build an outfit. The outfit-building challenge is poorly understood in academic literature and professional practice. Here, we present data from two sources: subjective self-reports from consumers about their outfit-building practices, and assessments (by expert and crowd-sourced assessors) of computer-generated outfit combinations pulled from a real-world wardrobe. Results illuminate the objectives and obstacles of consumers in the daily dressing decision, and support the complexity of building combinations from a large set of individual garments.
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In his paper ‘Whatever next? Predictive brains, situated agents, and the future of cognitive science’ Andy Clark (2013) seminally proposed that the brain’s job is to predict whatever information is coming ‘next’ on the basis of prior inputs and experiences. Perception fundamentally subserves survival and self-preservation in biological agents such as humans. Survival however crucially depends on rapid and accurate information processing of what is happening in the here and now. Hence the term ‘next’ in Clark’s seminal formulation must include not only the temporal dimension (i.e. what is perceived now); but (ii) also the spatial dimension (i.e. what is perceived here or next-to-my-body). In this paper we propose to focus on perceptual experiences that happen ‘next’, i.e. close-to-my-body. This is because perceptual processing of proximal sensory inputs has a key impact on the organism’s survival. Specifically, we focus on tactile experiences mediated by the skin and what we will call the ‘extended skin’ or ‘second skin’, that is immediate objects/materials that envelop closely our skin, namely clothes. We propose that the skin and tactile experiences are not a mere border separating the self and world. Rather they simultaneously and inherently distinguish and connect the bodily self to its environment. Hence these proximal and pervasive tactile experiences be viewed as a ‘transparent bridge’ intrinsically relating and facilitating exchanges between the self and the physical and social world. We conclude with potential implications of this observation for the case of Depersonalisation Disorder, a condition that makes people feel estranged and detached from their self, body and the world.
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Little research has been conducted into the relationship between fashion and psychology, even less on how individuals create wellbeing through appearance and clothing. In this study, the subjective experience of wearing an “outfit that makes you happy” was analyzed using interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA). Six participants, both male and female, were interviewed wearing an outfit that “made them happy.” The semi-structured interviews highlighted the importance of “intentionally managing identity.” Analysis found subordinate themes: shaping identity, coping strategies, and social identity. These were broken down into “knowing who I am,” “matching my outsides to my insides,” “creating my best self,” “managing moods,” “resilience,” “fashioning positive relationships,” and “shared values,” and linked to the concept of flourishing in positive psychology (PP). The results suggest that how the participants dress plays an active part in their wellbeing through expressing positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment (PERMA).
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Consumers are increasingly asked to “empty out their closets,” to “de-clutter” or in other ways detach themselves from the textile surplus of their wardrobes. In this article, fashion is examined as a process of detachment. Building on ethnographic wardrobe interviews, wardrobe clearances and group discussions with consumers, detachment is viewed as a fundamental, yet underexamined, process of fashion practices. Drawing on the queer phenomenology of Sarah Ahmed, we observe how the informants express a desire to detach themselves from the fast fashion system and become more sustainable, less dependent on consumption and more oriented toward emotional investment. Being oriented towards specific pieces of clothing allowed for attachment to that which is already here thus opening up for a relationship with clothing based on joy and care, rather than the unsustainable focus on the newly produced.
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This article exposes how young people use dress to negotiate, articulate and display identity. A diverse group of young people from Manchester, England, were asked to style themselves using items of clothing, or artefacts, which represented their individual and civic identities. Responses to this styling workshop and the accompanying interviews confirmed the powerful part that dressing can play, as young people navigate different cultural contexts and social environments in their everyday life. The research brings new insights into how dress is used as a catalyst for self-awareness, communication and development of self within multicultural urban settings. It proposes a new model for Dress, Youth and Identity (DYI) that provides a structure onto which young peoples' narratives of dress can be mapped and analysed, building upon the model for Dress and the Public, Private and Secret Self (PPSS) proposed by Eicher and Miller.
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In order to change consumption patterns into something that is more sustainable, it is essential that we consider the various and conflicting meanings clothes have in people’s lives. This article presents an analysis of diaries written by consumers of different ages and occupations over a period of three months in 2015. These consumers documented their clothing and shoe purchases, took inventory of the contents of their wardrobes, and reflected upon their clothing consumption. The aim of this study is to examine consumers’ use and consumption of clothing and how they deal with dissonances in relation to what they see as ‘sustainable’. What motivated their consumption? What compromises did they make? and What were the processes that determined their choices? The authors of the diaries claimed that they wanted to consume clothing in a sustainable manner, but they found that they did not. Direct criticism of the fashion system was often elusive and difficult for them to articulate. Consequently, instead of asking for the creation of a different fashion system, the authors of the diaries blamed themselves for their failures with respect to sustainable clothing consumption. Drawing on Affect Theory, the article discusses how emotional attachments informed the authors’ relationships with their wardrobes and the conflicting emotions surrounding the pleasure and pain of fashion. In their texts, they provided a number of different explanations as to why they bought, kept, and used clothes to justify why they consumed clothing even if they did not want to consume or felt that they should not. The diarists also remarked on how this made them feel about their consumption. Some claimed to “love” fashion. Others wrote they “hated fashion”, whilst others stated that they “didn’t care at all”. However, as was the case for all of the authors, the dream of owning a ‘perfect’ wardrobe pervaded their texts and worked as a way for them to deal with the dilemmas, contradictions, and struggles of fashion.
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This article is makes use of fieldwork to discuss and analyse a Norwegian product development project aimed at developing workwear for women in male dominated manual occupations. Making use of ethnographic methods and analysis can be valuable in showing how users' experiences and practices can be studied also where there are poorly developed concepts and language for formulating and discussing products, such as workwear in use. The article aims at answering how ethnographic studies may contribute to the development of products and services. Understanding people and things in their everyday relations and achieving action-oriented results may be a challenge in innovation and development processes. This article explores such challenges in studying the use of clothes in specific work contexts, as well as capturing and mediating this experience with workwear in use.
Thesis
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This doctoral research is situated in the field of fashion design for sustainability. It consists of three phases fieldwork to answer the question: How can designers be supported in designing garments with extended lifetimes? The aim of this inquiry is to provide parameters for framing longevity as a strategy for sustainability in fashion. Design for longevity stands in stark contrast to the dominant and highly profitable model of fast fashion. These items are mass-produced, sold at low prices and linked to environmental degradation. Despite arguably being the most effective means of reducing environmental impacts, there are significant gaps in knowledge relating to garment longevity in practice. The first of three distinct but interlinked phases of research therefore consists of case studies to investigate how design strategies for longevity are manifest within these exemplary fashion micro-enterprises. The results are distilled into nine categories which describe ways of framing design for extended garment lifetimes. The findings were developed into a prism graphic, providing a philosophical foundation for integrating design-led approaches to extended clothing lifetimes as part of a sustainability portfolio. The subsequent phase of research investigated user factors affecting clothing lifetimes. Qualitative interviews with customers from a participating case study organisation provided in-depth data elucidating the complex interplay between material objects, cultural norms and individual personal factors. It became clear that the design of a garment alone is significantly less influential in affecting the length of its use period than previously assumed. In order for knowledge from Phases 1 and 2 of fieldwork to be applied in practice, it is important that it is appropriately disseminated. The third and final phase of fieldwork addresses this need, as previous literature described an abundance of design toolkits but only few are successfully adopted in practice. It was found that guides developed together with an industry partner can provide gravitas and real-world context; also, that the flexibility and openness to change as evident within micro-enterprises, young businesses, or educational institutions is conducive to their success. In summary, the three core contributions to knowledge made by this thesis are: (1) Philosophical foundations towards clothing longevity. (2) Evidence supporting the individual and social factors affecting clothing lifetimes, which include but exceed the designable characteristics of a garment. (3) Factors affecting toolkit uptake and success. Overall, the contribution to knowledge provides greater clarity in relation to sustainable design practices for industry.
Chapter
This paper explores how the materiality of dress mediates and shapes practices of care in the context of dementia. Earlier research called for an approach to conceptualising care that recognised the role played by everyday artefacts. We extend this to a consideration of dress and dressing the body in relation to people with dementia that involves the direct manipulation of material objects, as well as the materiality of bodies. The paper draws on an ESRC funded study Dementia and Dress, which examined experiences of dress for people with dementia, families and care‐workers using ethnographic and qualitative methods. Our analysis explores the process of dressing the body, the physicality of guiding and manipulating bodies into clothing, dealing with fabrics and bodies which ‘act back’ and are resistant to the process of dressing. We consider how the materiality of clothing can constrain or enable practices of care, exploring tensions between garments that support ease of dressing and those that sustain identity. Examining negotiations around dress also reveals tensions between competing ‘logics’ of care (Mol 2008).
Article
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This paper explores how the materiality of dress mediates and shapes practices of care in the context of dementia. Earlier research called for an approach to conceptualising care that recognised the role played by everyday artefacts. We extend this to a consideration of dress and dressing the body in relation to people with dementia that involves the direct manipulation of material objects, as well as the materiality of bodies. The paper draws on an ESRC funded study Dementia and Dress, which examined experiences of dress for people with dementia, families and care-workers using ethnographic and qualitative methods. Our analysis explores the process of dressing the body, the physicality of guiding and manipulating bodies into clothing, dealing with fabrics and bodies which ‘act back’ and are resistant to the process of dressing. We consider how the materiality of clothing can constrain or enable practices of care, exploring tensions between garments that support ease of dressing and those that sustain identity. Examining negotiations around dress also reveals tensions between competing ‘logics’ of care (Mol 2008).
Article
The aim of this article is to engage with unaccompanied migrant Maghrebi boys’ styles of physical self-presentation, “looks,” and hairstyles as a source of knowledge on the construction of masculinities. In order to observe such bodily expressive practices, we used general ethnographic methodology and, in particular, a workshop built around different artistic techniques. Since masculinity is inextricably defined in relation to specific agents and contexts, insights into unaccompanied migrant teenagers’ enactments of masculinity are dependent on (1) the collective imagination lying behind such “looks” and bodily images, (2) the discomfort and tensions created in the institutional communities in which these minors live—especially among social workers, and (3) the dialogue and relationships that emerge between the aesthetic and bodily expressions of these young migrants’ own culture and those of the other cultural groups that coexist, in our case, in a European city. Link: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1097184X17748169 Arab Masculinities special issue: http://journals.sagepub.com/topic/collections/jmm-1/jmm
Article
Historical clothes are more than just examples of how past societies dressed—they are imbued with small details of individual lives in their marks of wear. This article explores how these marks evoke memories, and how setting up interactions between personal memories and the materiality of fashion objects creates opportunities for new perspectives in the field of fashion history. The article opens by considering how historians might draw on the methodologies of material culture and archival co-authorship to bring memories into collections research. In order to illustrate these ideas, the article then presents objects from the Museum of London’s fashion collection alongside the author’s own family photographs and stories to show how integrating her grandmother’s memories into her material culture research disrupted the conventional narratives of 1940s austerity fashion. The article concludes by considering how the application of memory to collections research might inform the way that fashion objects are displayed in museums. It suggests that, by focusing on the relationship between visitor memories and the small details of how a garment has been worn and used, museums could create displays which disrupt historical orthodoxies and reveal how echoes of the past continue to shape contemporary fashion cultures.
Thesis
Background Many have reported the difficulty of defining ‘quality’ with several concepts emerging to characterise quality end of life care. People with dementia have been described as the ‘disadvantaged dying’ with poor end of life care. Towards the end of life people with dementia cannot report on the care they receive. It is therefore important to talk to carers; however, few have explored the views about end of life care from the carers’ perspective. Aim To explore the features of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ quality end of life care for people with dementia from the perspective of family carers. Method 1) A systematic review of qualitative studies which explored family carers’ views of quality end of life care for people with dementia. 2) A qualitative study with 46 in-depth interviews with carers analysed using thematic analysis methods. Purposive sampling was used to recruit 1) family carers of someone who had recently received a diagnosis of dementia, 2) family carers currently caring for someone with dementia, and 3) bereaved family carers. Results Many elements to ‘good’ care were identified including: tailoring care, attention to the individual, respect and dignity. Participants perceived some basic principles such as compassion were lacking, particularly from nurses. The finer details of care such as clothing and appearance were important manifestations of social identity and personhood. Care for the carer was also important, with carers often being left to act as a care manager and navigate the health and social care systems. Conclusion At end of life not everyone with dementia will require input from specialist palliative care services; there are many basic principles to good quality end of life care. This study suggests that end of life care for someone with dementia may not be that different to dementia care in general.
Thesis
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This dissertation is concerned with work uniforms for women in male-dominated manual occupations. As such, it has analysed parts of the gender-segregated labour market in light of material conditions that dress workers every day. This has been done on the background of a research and development project called Uni-Form funded by the Research Council of Norway. The dissertation presents findings from ethnographic fieldwork in six male-dominated occupations; construction, skilled manual work, industrial production, off- and onshore gas and oil production, industrial fishing and the Navy. It also analyses the project Uni-Form’s product development process and seeks to show how work research can benefit from employing more materiality-based studies. Work clothes and uniforms for women in male-dominated occupations have come in the form of men’s clothes or feminized copies of men's clothes where form and aesthetics have been adapted to the female body and female dress standards. There are several problematic aspects of work clothes and gender that points to premises of standardisation, which do not promote inclusion and recruitment or contribute to retaining women in the gender-segregated labour market. Research on workwear, uniforms and uniform dressing in general have largely documented that women dressing in uniform workwear are problematic in practical, functional and socialsymbolic terms, but it has not contributed with a larger study or shown how this can be solved in practice. The dissertation shows that despite the work uniform’s poor fit for many of the female workers, wearing it is crucial to their ability to be included (and excluded) in these occupations dominated by men. The work uniform is a part of a tacit dimension at work and is therefore not always evident in the conversations about work. When the dissertation deals with these tacit material relations through the fieldwork material it is evident that the work uniform turn out to reproduce gender constructions and work practices. In this lies a potential for the work uniforms to work as a change agent for the gender-segregated labour market. This applies both to the workwear becoming a part of a strategic and political discourse concerned with balancing the gender segregation in the Norwegian labour market, and by making work life studies more materially structured. The dissertation also points out the tactile change potential of designing work clothes that are less standardized and more adapted to gender, body and work. Looking at the gender-segregated labour market and the standardization of workwear in this specific context, it can be argued that workwear as part of the working environment's material conditions and workers' everyday lives are a forgotten or neglected part of working life in politics and in working-life research. The neglect of workwear applies both to how clothes are designed to include a wide range of different people and occupational-specific work tasks, and the significance it is ascribed for working life in general. The most obvious effect of this neglect can be seen in women who are in an obvious minority in these occupations. This dissertation shows a clear connection between the physical, socio-cultural and material aspects embodied in the work uniform. It strives to contribute important insight into and contextual knowledge about women in male-dominated occupations that have not previously been presented. Simultaneously it points to concrete solutions that might better include women in male-dominated occupations.
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