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Sociology of Fashion

SOC 221
Spring 2016
Section: 01  
Course Cluster: Queer Studies

Clothing is a social product, carries social meanings, and modifies social interaction, thus making it into the system of symbols known as fashion. This course will introduce students to the sociological study of fashion. We will examine early theories that regarded fashion as a "superficial" display of wealth and class distinction, then move into the current moment of worldwide capitalist inequality and postmodern identity formation. We will look at how race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity are both articulated and challenged through fashion. We will examine the relationship between fashion, clothing, the body, and body image; how fashion is a system that can discipline or exert power over others and also construct the self. We will ask whether fashion, with its artistic expression and continual reorganization of styles, has the power to exact social change, or whether it simply reinforces and reproduces social inequality. In the process of studying these ideas, we will look at many practical examples, including various fashion experiences and styles, looking for the social and political forces behind the experience of clothing. We will study Jamaican "dance hall" fashion, drag and cross-dressing, hip hop fashion, and many other examples. We will also use fashion as a means of exploring various theories of social life, including Karl Marx's theory of capitalist exploitation, Pierre Bourdieu's theories of social and cultural capital, Foucault's theory of the body as a site of social discipline, Sigmund Freud's work on the unconscious and return of repressed trauma, Roland Barthes's theory of fashion as a social code, and Erving Goffman's theories of symbolic interactionism and impression management.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS SOC
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: SOC151
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (SOC)
Past Enrollment Probability: Less than 50%

Last Updated on JUL-23-2024
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