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The Fashioned Body provides a wide-ranging and original overview of fashion and dress from an historical and sociological perspective. The book gives a clear summary of the theories surrounding the role and function of fashion in modern society, and examines how fashion plays a crucial role in the formation of modern identity through its articulation of the body, gender and sexuality. In examining fashion in relation to the body, the book offers a much needed synthesis between the literature on fashion and dress, which has tended to igre the body, and the sociology of the body, which has tended to marginalize fashion and dress. Entwistle shows how an understanding of fashion and dress requires an understanding of the meanings acquired by the body in culture - since it is the body that fashion speaks to and which is dressed in almost all social situations and encounters. She argues that while fashion refers to a specific system of dress originating in the west, all cultures 'dress' the body in the same way, making it a crucial feature of social order. Drawing on the work of Douglas, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, Goffman and Bourdieu, the book offers insights into the connections that need to be made between the body, fashion and dress, arguing for an account of fashion and dress as 'situated bodily practice'. The Fashioned Body will be an invaluable resource for students and academics interested in the social role of fashion and dress in modern culture and will also be of interest to students and researchers in the areas of consumption, cultural studies, gender studies and feminist theory.
Joanne Entwistle is lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex.