Daniel Miller and Sophie Woodward (eds)
On any given day nearly half the world’s population is wearing blue jeans. This is entirely extraordinary. Yet there has never been a serious attempt to understand the causes, nature and consequences of denim as “the” global garment of our world. This book takes up that challenge with gusto. It gives clear, if surprising, explanations for why this is the case; challenging the accepted history of jeans and showing why the reasons cannot be commercial.
While discussing the consequences of denim at the global level, the book consists of some exemplary studies by anthropologists of what blue jeans mean in a variety of local situations. These range from the discussion of hip-hop jeans in Germany, denim and sex in Milan through to the connection between denim and recycling in the US. But through all these intensively researched ethnographies of local denim we build our understanding of the most curious of all features of blue jeans – the rise of global denim.
Table of contents
- Notes on Contributors pp. vii–viii
- Introduction pp. 1–22
- The Making of an American Icon: The Transformation of Blue Jeans during the Great Depression pp. 23–50
- Diverting Denim: Screening Jeans in Bollywood pp. 51–68
- How Blue Jeans went Green: The Materiality of an American Icon pp. 69–86
- The Limits of Jeans in Kannur, Kerala pp. 87–102
- ’Brazilian Jeans’: Materiality, Body and Seduction at a Rio de Janeiro’s Funk Ball pp. 103–126
- Indigo Bodies: Fashion, Mirror Work and Sexual Identity in Milan pp. 127–144
- Jeanealogies: Materiality and the (Im)permanence of Relationships and Intimacy pp. 145–158
- Carrot-cut Jeans: An Ethnographic Account of Assertiveness, Embarrassment and Ambiguity in the Figuration of Working-class Male Youth Identities in Berlin pp. 159–180
- The Jeans that Don’t Fit: Marketing Cheap Jeans in Brazil pp. 181–196