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Subcultural Body Style and Identity

Therèsa M. Winge

Source: Body Style 2012

Book chapter

Each subculture member has individual lived body experiences, which collectively create the generalizations about the subculture’s identity. These generalizations are then further extended to collective ideas about identity regarding the individual member, the specific subculture, and the entirety of all subcultures to some degree. The subcultural body becomes an amalgam of experiences—for example, piercings, tattoos, spiky hair, and propensity toward pain. Furthermore, each subculture has unwrit

Aboriginal Dress in the Kimberley, Western Australia

Kim Akerman

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

As in most other areas of Australia, the Aboriginals of the Kimberley were traditionally unclothed. For them, dress consisted of headbands and hair belts. Pubic tassels (made by tying multiple strands of spun fur or hair string into a mop, suspended over the genital area) were worn occasionally. Other elements of dress consisted of ornaments made from feathers, fibers, animal teeth, or shell, the use of which was often dictated by the ceremonial and social status of the wearer. More complex ornam

Headdresses and Hairdos

Mary Jo Arnoldi

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Headwear has been an important feature of everyday wear and ceremonial display in Africa from ancient times to the present day. Hats and hairstyles can mark or celebrate changes in the life cycle, denote a person’s status in the community, signal membership in a religious or initiation society, designate key participants at rituals and festivals, or identify political and religious leaders and occupational specialists. Hats designed for daily wear provide pragmatic solutions to the problem of phy

Body Modification and Body Art

Lisa Aronson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The U.S. anthropologist Enid Schildkrout characterizes the body as a “site where culture is inscribed (and) a place where the individual is defined and inserted into the cultural landscape.” Cultures throughout the African continent use the transformed body as means for expressing identities, norms, values, and aesthetic principles through a wide range of body art media, including everything from scarification, tattooing, painting, and oiling the skin to styling the hair and reshaping designated

Moko Māori: Skin Modification

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Linda Waimarie Nikora and Mohi Robert Rua

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Māori people settled Aotearoa (New Zealand) from the islands of the eastern Pacific, coming in successive waves over many centuries. They brought with them the languages, music, belief systems, and technologies of their cultures of origin. They also brought the practice of permanent skin modification. Tattoo chisels similar to those used in western Polynesia have been found in some of the earliest excavations. With the new environment came new resources: massive hardwood forests, nephrite and

Asian American

Usha Chowdhary

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In 2004, Asian Americans represented 33 percent of the total immigrants in the United States and 50 percent in Canada. Even though previous studies show that immigrants acculturate over time and are assimilated to the new cultural values, their ethnic identity continues to be important for selected parts of their everyday life. Ethnic identity allows association between and among people based on their shared worldviews, social practices, and commonality of past experiences and helps with giving a

Rites of Passage and Rituals in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia

Susan Conway

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The people of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam are united by their proximity to the Mekong River and its tributaries. Indigenous and imported fabrics are worn for dress associated with religious ceremonies and other rituals. In societies where Hinduism has made an impact, particularly Thailand and Cambodia, children undergo a tonsure ceremony marking the passage from childhood to adolescence. If the ceremony is performed for a male member of the royal family, court affiliates dressed as guar

Rites of Passage and Ritual Traditions of the Shan

Susan Conway

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Shan State is bordered by China, Tibet, Laos, and Thailand. The Shan belong to the Tai ethnic groups. Their rulers came from prominent local families, but they usually had to present tribute payments to more powerful monarchs. The major Shan religion is Theravada Buddhism, which assimilated ancient spirit religions. The Shan make textiles and cultivate cotton. They have for centuries imported Chinese and Burmese raw silk and other luxury fabrics. Exotic court dress identified rulers with the gods

South Africa Overview

Patricia Davison

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

South Africa offers a rich field for exploring the symbolic language of dress in the varied contexts of everyday life. It is a country of many cultural layers, with eleven official languages and a relatively recent history of racial segregation and imposed ethnically based “homelands.” After 1994, however, when South Africa became a multiparty democracy, the new nation aspired to be united in its diversity, even though the inequalities of the past remained embedded in many social institutions and

The Maldive Islands

Jasleen Dhamija

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives have from the earliest times been in the path of ships from nations pursuing trade with South Asia, Southeast Asia, and beyond, including Arabs, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Sassanians. They were thus open to numerous influences. The islands’ conversion to Islam, possibly brought about by visiting traders, impacted greatly on local dress. Inhabitants of more isolated islands could not afford to buy textiles from India in premodern times; a fifteenth-cent

Rites of Passage and Rituals in India

Jasleen Dhamija

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Indians are conscious of a deep connection between woven fabrics and their inner lives, viewing textiles as a second skin through which socio-religious and cultural history is absorbed into the wearer’s psyche. Weaving is one of the oldest technologies, and the terminology associated with it has been used to express philosophical concepts that are equally ancient. For example, the word sutra, originating from sut (thread) and meaning “to string together,” is used for the stringing together of the

Jewelry in Indonesia

Jasleen Dhamija

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The vast Indonesian archipelago is a chain of 13,667 islands. The Indonesians call their country Tanah Air Kita, “our homeland,” literally “our land and water.” The nation comprises 365 ethnic and tribal groups, each with its own language, cultural traditions, beliefs, ritual observations, and social norms. Thus, throughout the archipelago, a large number of cultural expressions have evolved over the millennia, many of which are still in use in the early twenty-first century. Even small islands h

Torres Strait Islander Dress, Australia

Anna Edmundson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Torres Strait is a narrow underwater shelf connecting the northernmost tip of mainland Australia to the Gulf of Papua New Guinea. Torres Strait Islanders are the indigenous people of the region, which forms part of the Australian state of Queensland. The term ailan kastom (island custom) is used to denote those products and practices that are unique to the Torres Strait Islands, including dress.

Dress and Identity

Sandra Lee Evenson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Dress is a visual form of communication. Before two people are close enough to each other to exchange words, they communicate a world of information (or misinformation) through dress. They may register gender, age, ethnic origin, income, social status, rank, occupation, group membership, sexual availability, personality, opinions, beliefs, tastes, interests, and mood. Some scholars have suggested that because so much information is exchanged through the medium of dress, face-to-face social intera

Fijian Dress and Body Modifications

Roderick Ewins

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Geographically, Fiji sits where the arbitrarily defined three triangles of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia intersect, and it shares many cultural elements with its neighbors on all sides, though Polynesian elements predominate. Bodywear has always been strongly differentiated in terms of age, gender, and social status. Nineteenth-century Christian missionary and colonial government intervention altered every aspect of custom, including bodywear. Items with any symbolic connection with the ol

Myanmar

Sylvia Fraser-Lu

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Myanmar, or Burma, has a complex ethnic mix, resulting in Burmese, Chinese, and Tibetan dress influences. Myanmar’s earliest, most lasting contacts were apparently with India. Indian concepts of monarchy, with the cult of godlike kings, were adopted in Myanmar. Myanmar kings on formal occasions were known to wear gold-embroidered robes, emulating the gods. The Indian Laws of Manu stipulated that women were responsible for weaving household clothing. Sixteenth-century travelers to Burma recorded t

Cambodia

Gillian Green

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In the four centuries between the fall of Angkor to the Siamese in the mid-fifteenth century c.e. and the arrival of French officials in the mid-nineteenth century, there is very little direct information about Khmer dress. It can be presumed, however, that owing to Siamese political dominance, the dress of the upper echelons of society would have conformed to that of the Siamese court during the Ayutthaya period (1351–1767 c.e.) and its successor, the Ratanakosin period (from 1782 on). Siamese s

Debutante Dress

Michaele Haynes

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The term “debut,” to enter into society, is French in origin but became familiar to English speakers during the reign of King George III (1760–1820) when Queen Charlotte began the practice of introducing young aristocratic women at court. From 1837 on, they were called “debutantes,” later shortened to “debs.” The Lord Chamber-lain’s Office developed strict regulations regarding proper dress for court presentations. From 1820 to 1900, ladies wore fashionable evening dresses, a mandatory headdress

Ceremonial and Special-Occasion Dress

Michaele Thurgood Haynes

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

There is a difference between the terms ceremonial and special-occasion dress. The latter is an out-of-the-ordinary event, possibly unique. Societal conventions create parameters as to what is acceptable wear at these times, but personal clothing choices made by the participants help make it a special occasion. Ceremonial refers to repeated events occurring within a set framework, a somewhat rigid and formalized series of actions. In anthropological terms, a ceremony is generally more suitably na

Namibia

Hildi Hendrickson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In Namibia, the oldest indigenous forms of dress were made from the leather hides of wild and domesticated animals, decorated with shell and locally made metal beads. Before the Colonial period, differing cultural groups and social subgroups distinguished themselves through formalized yet highly inventive hairstyles, headgear, and types of tooth modification. Cloth dress was slowly introduced via Europeans and was adopted in uneven ways. Some indigenous people began wearing cloth early in the Col

Rites of Passage and Rituals in Indonesia

Marianne Hulsbosch

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Indonesian archipelago stretches a distance of more than three thousand miles (about five thousand kilometers) along the equator, across three time zones, and has a population in excess of 200 million, comprising more than 350 ethnic groups. These features make it impossible to consider Indonesia as a single society with common linguistic links, shared values, and ideologies. Therefore, it would be a mistake to make generalizations about ceremonial and ritualistic meaning of Indonesian textil

Ceremonial and Religious Dress in Australia

Lynne Hume

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

While indigenous Australians have occupied the continent of Australia for over forty thousand years, the British, including convicts, only began arriving in 1788 on the First Fleet, and Christian clergy arrived with them. Religion, customs, and dress of Europeans in those early years of colonization were based on the motherland of Great Britain, the settlers being largely monocultural. Since then Australian ceremonial and religious dress has been characterized by considerable diversity, and in th

Aboriginal Dress in North Queensland, Australia

Kate Khan

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Although there had been occasional contact between Europeans and Aboriginal people in north Queensland since 1606, by the 1860s the increasing influx of Europeans and Chinese occupying Aboriginal lands made conflict inevitable. Until the 1870s tribal groups living in the rain forest region of Cape York Peninsula, north Queensland, escaped the upheavals of foreign contact and continued to lead the life of successful hunter-gatherers in this rich natural environment. Many items were unique to the r

Pedi, Ndebele, and Ntwane Dress and Beadwork

Sandra Klopper

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Pedi, Ndebele, and Ntwane communities developed close links during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in what is now South Africa’s Mpumalanga province. Some of their beadwork and rituals are almost identical. Today there are two Ndebele groups, the Manala and Ndzundza. Influenced by missionaries, the former gradually lost touch with traditional dress, while the Ndzundza, forcibly indentured to white farmers in the 1880s, strove for cultural cohesion, developing beadwork associated with i

Kenya

Corinne A. Kratz

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Kenya’s archaeological sites offer rich evidence of personal adornment, revealing ancient trade links. Modern Kenya contains over forty African ethnic groups, the result of early migrations involving Cushitic, Nilotic, and Bantu speakers. Ruled successively by the Portuguese and Arabs, Kenya became a British colony in 1920, gaining independence in 1963. This complex history is reflected in Kenyan dress and adornment, which may be associated with linguistic identity, region, religion, or ritual. T

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