The Dress-Game of the Russian Capital.An empirical approach to a facet of Russian post-modernity

  • Katharina Klingseis (Redner*in)

Aktivität: VortragWissenschaftlicher Vortrag (Science-to-Science)


Exploring the discourse and practices of getting dressed in Moscow in a series of in-depth interviews (and photo-portraits), I was thrown by the rigour with which dressed appearance was being judged and relentlessly dismissed in case of non-compliance with specific criteria of adequacy across social groups. The phenomenon was especially pronounced with young urban professional Muscovites but not restricted to them. People revealed a highly reflected - and explicated pragmatism in their use of clothing and accessories for asserting their social status, economic performance, professional competence and - in the case of female respondents - femininity, i.e. unambiguous heterosexual ambitions, while relentlessly dismissing inappropriately dressed individuals into the realm of invisibility. My presentation will be based on the results of a 30-month research project on dressing practices as modes of self-fashioning self-fashioning in a literal sense, concerning the practices exercised on the dressed appearance, as well as a broader Foucauldian sense of an attitude one entertains to oneself and others. In my paper I will focus on the particular use of dress by Moscow's young professionals, paying special attention to its gendered aspects. Based on my empirical data, I will argue that the specific features found are owed to an intertwining of 1) the specific legacy of Soviet beauty discourse and practices, 2) a reflex of Soviet practices of obtaining, producing, wearing clothes and the role of "Western" fashions therein, 3) the fate of Soviet/Russian manifestations of informality, 4) the Soviet/Russian history of gender relations, 5) the eminent role the service sector (headquarters of Russian and international corporations, banks, insurances, advertising etc.) plays in Moscow's economy, fostering increased attention to appearance, as individuals' fashioned bodies have turned into commodities themselves in current capitalist societies.
Zeitraum18 Feb. 200920 Feb. 2009
Ereignistitel9th International Postgraduate Conference on Central and Eastern Europe
VeranstaltungstypKeine Angaben