This book provides a clear, focused road map to the study of the body in society. It defines, explains and applies core topics relating to the human body demonstrating how we approach it as a social phenomenon.

Each concept: Includes an easy to understand definition; Provides real-world examples; Gives suggestions for further reading; Is carefully cross-referenced to other related concepts

Written to meet the needs of the modern student this book offers the basic materials, tools and guidance needed study and write about the body.


Definition Clothing is, and is more than, what we use to cover various parts of the body. It can be a means of exerting power, either over others or over oneself. It can be a marker or a statement of social distinction and stratification. Clothing can be used to exert identity in the form of rebellion (clan tartans, punk), individuality and prestige (haute couture), community (ritual adornment or vestments) or conformity (military uniforms). Clothing in all its forms – apparel, adornment, dress and fashion – is always symbolic.

In early modern England, sumptuary (clothing) laws were enacted to prevent anyone who was not of a particular (high) social rank from wearing certain garments (Hollander, 1980). The laws were deliberately aimed at policing social boundaries by ...

locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles