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A typology of fashion violence

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In the study of fashion there is a temptation to privilege the experience of seduction, glamour and empowerment of individuals, or the representation of cultural values through dress. But fashion also has a propensity for narcissism (self-satisfaction) and the potential for this self-satisfaction to be achieved through the harassment and degradation of others. In this article, fashion is examined as an everyday site for establishing social distinctions, where violence in the form of microaggressions and bullying is masked by the apparent superficially and innocuousness of clothing.

The aim is to demonstrate how fashion is implicated in the three levels of everyday violence identified by Galtung (1990) in his typography of violence. The article takes examples from the cultural realm of fashion and a set of interviews with young people who experienced bullying because of their clothes. The examples are applied to Galtung’s model to produce a typology of fashion violence.
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Keywords: Johan Galtung; bullying; fashion; microaggression; narcissism; violence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Parsons School of Design, The New School 2: University of Gothenburg

Publication date: June 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty is the first journal dedicated to the critical examination of the fashion and the beauty systems as symbolic spaces of production and reproduction, representation and communication of artifacts, meanings, social practices, and visual or textual renditions of cloth, clothing and appearance.

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