This book discusses the figure of the unchaste woman in a wide range of fiction written between 1835 and 1880; serious novels by Dickens, Mrs. Gaskell, Meredith, and George Eliot; popular novels that provided light reading for middle-class women (including books by Dinah Craik, Rhoda Broughton, and Ouida); sensational fiction; propaganda for social reform; and stories in cheap periodicals such as the Family Herald and the London Journal, which reached a different and far wider audience than either serious or popular novels.
It has long been said that clothes make the man (or woman), but is it still true today? If so, how has the information clothes convey changed over the years? Using a wide range of historical and contemporary materials, Diana Crane demonstrates how the social significance of clothing has been transformed.
Crane compares nineteenth-century societies—France and the United States—where social class was the most salient aspect of social identity signified in clothing with late twentieth-century America, where lifestyle, gender, sexual orientation, age, and ethnicity are more meaningful to individuals in constructing their wardrobes. Today, clothes worn at work signify social class, but leisure clothes convey meanings ranging from trite to political. In today's multicode societies, clothes inhibit as well as facilitate communication between highly fragmented social groups.
Crane extends her comparison by showing how nineteenth-century French designers created fashions that suited lifestyles of Paris elites but that were also widely adopted outside France. By contrast, today's designers operate in a global marketplace, shaped by television, film, and popular music. No longer confined to elites, trendsetters are drawn from many social groups, and most trends have short trajectories. To assess the impact of fashion on women, Crane uses voices of college-aged and middle-aged women who took part in focus groups. These discussions yield fascinating information about women's perceptions of female identity and sexuality in the fashion industry.
An absorbing work, Fashion and Its Social Agendas stands out as a critical study of gender, fashion, and consumer culture.
"Why do people dress the way they do? How does clothing contribute to a person's identity as a man or woman, as a white-collar professional or blue-collar worker, as a preppie, yuppie, or nerd? How is it that dress no longer denotes social class so much as lifestyle? . . . Intelligent and informative, [this] book proposes thoughtful answers to some of these questions."-Library Journal
In this interdisciplinary and controversial work, Igal Halfin takes an original and provocative stance on Marxist theory, and attempts to break down the divisions between history, philosophy, and literary theory.
Unifying concepts are essential when studying history. They provide students and scholars with ways to organize their thoughts, research, and writings. However, these concepts are also the focus of myriad conflicts within the field. Social history has experienced more than its share of such conflicts since its inception some forty years ago. In recent times the fields of “the social” and of “culture” have sometimes been presented as mutually exclusive and even hostile. Once again, conceptual innovation in history has been cast as a closure by which the new drives out the old: in this case, cultural history radically displacing social history. The Future of Class in History analyzes the effect of the conflict that followed the “turn to culture” in historical work by examining the use of class and demonstrates how practitioners in multiple fields can collaborate to produce the highest quality scholarship.
“Offers new ways of thinking about ‘class’ and ‘society’ in a world in which such categories have been radically called into question.”
—Sherry Ortner, University of California, Los Angeles
“Brilliantly charts social history’s past achievement, present dilemma, and future promise in a work distinguished by intellectual openness and generosity.”
—James A. Epstein, Vanderbilt University
“Eley and Nield seek to rescue the deluded follower of social history from the enormous condescension of the cultural turn. They succeed admirably, making the case for a new hybrid socio-cultural history.”
—Donald Reid, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“This terrific double act has once again produced a text that demands to be read by all those tired of the juxtaposition of social and cultural histories and still interested in the problematic of class and the politics of its past and present.”
—James Vernon, University of California, Berkeley
“Eley and Nield tackle a contentious debate with a gracious plea for collaboration. Their strong desire to get past the ‘culture wars’ and to engage social and cultural historians in fruitful dialogue is a welcome move, stylishly executed.”
—Philippa Levine, University of Southern California
Geoff Eley is Professor of History at the University of Michigan.
Keith Nield is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Hull.