This chapter addresses the increasingly complex question of the nature of fashion in a globalized world. While it is strikingly obvious that fashion is a global and globalized phenomenon, its specific character, and indeed geographical locations and origins, remain contested. Drawing inspiration from the Greek historian Polybius, and his ideas of an ecumenical analytical approach, to studying world-wide phenomena we discuss the current state of fashion studies in what we consider an ecumenical moment, holding many opportunities for the field. In order to lay out the roots of current debates, on such matters we review the history of fashion studies from the mid‐19th century through to today, drawing attention to both the ontological assumptions and the epistemological and methodological dilemmas that have shaped the field, and that in some ways continue to do so today. We finish with some suggestions as to what the future may hold for the field if the ecumenical promise of global fashion research is truly realized.
Part of the book: Epistemology and Transformation of Knowledge in Global Age
In the worldwide Islamic diaspora today, how does the socialisation of women into Islamic belief and observance operate? This chapter considers such matters in the contemporary Finnish context. It deals with issues of bodily comportment and types of garments intended to be expressive of Islamic piety, and made available by the globalised Islamic fashion industry. The focus is on the means whereby sartorial objects are used to encourage females to adopt certain kinds of practices, thought to be expressive of the religious norms of particular diasporic communities. Attention is directed to what happens when one woman gives another woman an Islamic garment as a gift. The gift brings with it a set of obligations on the part of the receiver, which functions as often potent means of ensuring acceptance of group norms as to acceptable and unacceptable visual appearance and behaviour. We discuss this with reference to Marcel Mauss’s classical anthropological work on the institution of gift-giving. It is found that Mauss’s original insights continue to be valuable for understanding socialisation processes in globalised, diaspora contexts today.
Part of the book: Socialization