The materiality and sensuality of clothing: researching and representing the non-verbal and textual

Woodward, Sophie (2010) The materiality and sensuality of clothing: researching and representing the non-verbal and textual. [Video] (Unpublished)

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Recording from presentation given at Vital Signs 2 conference, 7-9 September 2010, University of Manchester.
A key premise of doing research into material culture is the need to understand the materiality of objects, that is, the relationship between material propensities and the social contexts of use, or manufacture. This paper will address the issues posed by adopting such an approach, drawing upon my own research into clothing. A key challenge is how to understand materials and the properties of clothing as a social scientist, as this usually, falls within the disciplinary domain of textile technology and colour chemistry. Rather than being seen as an end in themselves, interrogating material properties is a means of understanding how, through interaction with wearers, particular memories or relationships are enabled, as I focus on the worn items of clothing. The main focus of this paper is, the challenge of understanding the particularly intimate relationship clothing has to the individual body, as a sensual and material part of everyday, mundane practices. My broad methodology was ethnographic in the home, drawing upon a wide range of methods (diaries, observations, photographs, object based interviews). I will consider in this paper both how to research and access an understanding of an embodied and material relationship, rather one that is necessarily accessible through what people say and also how to represent this. Academic research is written up in textual form, perhaps also using images, which raises a particular paradox for writing about the materiality of clothing, given that I am trying to convey a relationship that is neither textual nor verbalized.

Item Type: Video
Uncontrolled Keywords: Material culture; Realities
Subjects: 4. Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis > 4.11 Ethnography
Depositing User: Realities user
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2010 11:12
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2021 13:53

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