Our Identity is Constructed by the clothes we wear

Topics: Subculture, Modernism, Dick Hebdige Pages: 7 (2323 words) Published: November 15, 2013
Our identity is constructed by, for example, the clothes we wear. Discuss the idea of a construction of identity within postmodernism using recommended texts.

During the postmodernist era there was great emphasis on the movement of philosophy and social science as well as new influential styles of architecture, design and fashion. It was the development of the modernist era, which in the late 1950’s received criticism for being standardized and no longer suiting peoples lifestyles. The Machine age was not suited to the affluent and creative people of this age and because of this postmodernism was created. (___) In this essay I am going to explore how postmodernist values, art movements and architecture construct the identities and subcultures created within this era. Initially I will be looking at two authors Dick Hebdige and David Muggleton and then support this with examples of subcultures of the period and following the subculture as if filters through to becoming mainstream. According to Dick Hebdige subcultures occur in society as youth rebelling to the hegemony from the ruling classes.

“This process begins with a crime against the natural order, though in this case the deviation may seem slight indeed – the cultivation of a quiff, the acquisition of a scooter or a record or a certain type of suit. But it ends up in the construction of a style, in a gesture of deviance or contempt, in a smile or a sneer. It signs a Refusal.” (Dick Hebdige, 1979)

This outcome begins from youth being aware of the class conscious divide within their parents lives and do not want to find themselves in the same position this causes them not to conform to society meaning subcultures are created. Once the media is aware of the subculture and publishes it to the nation moral panic arises, this then leads the subculture to adapt to avoid the negative label and often transforms into a new subculture, or the initial subculture becomes socially accepted by the media and public ‘at the point where boys in lipstick are “just kids dressing up,” where girls in rubber dresses are “daughters just like yours” (Hebdige 2011) to restore hegemony. Hebdige also states that subcultures are not sustainable. This process of recuperation takes two forms, the commodity form and the ideological form. The commodity form is the use of the subcultural signs as mass-produced items public consumption and mainstream subcultures. This creates a blur between profitable exploitation of the newly produced goods, and creativity and innovation of the trendsetters. A key example is both mod and punk subcultures, which have filtered down to the high street and changed the meaning from the original and become ‘codified’. The ideological form uses Bathes (1972) Identification model in which others can be trivialised, naturalised and domesticated. ‘Otherness is reduced to sameness’ or the other can be transformed into meaningless exotica, a ‘pure object, a spectacle, a clown’. In the case of Punks, the press and themselves dehumanised themselves giving them a persona unrelated to their life, which didn’t take into consideration families. Events like this where often published by papers such as The Daily Mirror. One headline in particular that had high significance was ‘THE FILTH AND THE FURY’ (2nd December 1967) Where Sex Pistols were interviewed on a ITV’s Today and caused outrage when they offended the host Bill Grundy, as well as using unpleasant language which caused an up roar with the viewers. The show was aired at 6:15P.M in the London area with an audience of adults and children. This caused massive publicity for the band, but it was something they thrived off and therefore is willing to exploit their rebellious side for a boost in commercial success. The mainstream culture has to take responsibly for adding the destruction of subcultures and their legality especially regarding this situation because the programme could have been cut to avoid further...
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