This book seeks to address and fill a puzzling omission in contemporary critical IR scholarship. Following on from the aesthetic turn in IR, critical and 'postmodern' IR has produced an impressive array of studies into movies, literature, music and art and the way these media produce, mediate, and represent international politics. By contrast, the proponents of the aesthetic turn have consistently overlooked and ignored fashion as a source of knowledge about global politics.
Yet stories about the political role of fashion abound in the news media. In Afghanistan, the terror of the Taliban regime and the plight of women was illustrated by reference to the burqa that women are supposedly forced to wear there. In Sudan, recently a female writer and activist successfully challenged the government over her right to wear trousers in public. In Europe, the debate on women's headscarves has politicised a garment item and turned it into a symbol of fundamentalism and oppression. In the war on terror, orange jumpsuits are used on both sides to dehumanise and mark the figure of the 'detainee'. Yet the politics of fashion go beyond these examples of the uses and abuses of textiles and fabrics for political purposes, extending into its very 'grammar' and vocabulary.
The contributions to this book will investigate the politics of fashion from a variety of perspectives, addressing theoretical as well as empirical issues, establishing the critical study of fashion and its protagonists as a central contribution to the aesthetic turn in international politics.
This work will be a unique contribution to the field and will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations, critical IR theory and popular culture and world politics.
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