The world in dress: Anthropological perspectives on clothing, fashion, and culture

Karen Tranberg Hansen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

194 Scopus citations


Clothing research has attracted renewed interest in anthropology over the past two decades, experiencing a florescence that had been kept within bounds by reigning theoretical paradigms. The works have been influenced by general explanatory shifts in anthropology, which inform disparate bodies of clothing research that otherwise have little unity. The most noticeable trend is a preoccupation with agency, practice, and performance that considers the dressed body as both subject in, and object of, dress practice. The turn to consumption as a site and process of meaning making is evident also in clothing research. Dress has been analyzed, by and large, as representing something else rather than something in its own right, although new efforts to reengage materiality suggest that this approach is changing. Little work has been done on clothing production issues, though some scholars examine the significance of dress in the context of the entire economic circuit and the unequal relationships between its actors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-392
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Anthropology
StatePublished - 2004


  • Clothing practice
  • Consumption
  • Dressed body
  • Material culture
  • Style diversification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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