ISSN: 2050070X
First published in 2014
2 issues per volume
Volume 4 Issue 2
Cover Date: September 2017
Identity and the imaginary: Rhetorics of menswear in literature and film
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Authors:  Kenneth M. Kambara And  John Deming 
DOI: 10.1386/csmf.4.2.153_1

Keywords
rhetorics in menswear,visual rhetorics,literary analysis,cinema studies,sociology of art,sociology of fashion,culture and fashion

Abstract
We critically examine the use of menswear in literature and film as an expression of Weltanschauung, a view of the world by creatives in the literary and visual arts. While depictions and presentations of menswear serve as rhetorical devices in literature and film, this occurs within a sociocultural meaning system, where the creator not only captures elements of social realities but also serves to influence them. Our enquiry informs how taste is defined through the distinctions made in social processes involving cultural capital through creative production. This involves context-rich analyses of how menswear is used to craft identities and tropes embedded within a historicized imaginary that may have never even existed. Such an examination of menswear as an art form in media allows for a nuanced critical analysis of gender performativity and issues of trajectories of meanings over time. Our theoretical framework builds on the fashion system and cultural reproduction work of Roland Barthes and Pierre Bourdieu, respectively. We use several key case studies of twentieth-century authors and film projects to develop new theory that has implications for understanding menswear as an art form with societal significance, with implications for better understanding gender, identity, culture and the everyday praxis of individuals and institutions.
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