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Dressing with Purpose

Belonging and Resistance in Scandinavia

Edited by Carrie Hertz

Published by: Indiana University Press

258 Pages, 8.50 x 11.00 x 0.00 in, 142 color illus., 11 b&w photos, 1 map

This book can be purchased from this website 60 days before the publish date

  • Hardcover
  • 9780253058577
  • Published: December 2021


This book can be purchased from this website 60 days before the publish date

  • eBook
  • 9780253058591
  • Published: December 2021


Dress helps us fashion identity, history, community, and place. Dress has been harnessed as a metaphor for both progress and stability, the exotic and the utopian, oppression and freedom, belonging and resistance. Dressing with Purpose examines three Scandinavian dress traditions—Swedish folkdräkt, Norwegian bunad, and Sámi gákti—and traces their development during two centuries of social and political change across northern Europe.
By the 20th century, many in Sweden worried about the ravages of industrialization, urbanization, and emigration on traditional ways of life. Norway was gripped in a struggle for national independence. Indigenous Sámi communities—artificially divided by national borders and long resisting colonial control—rose up in protests that demanded political recognition and sparked cultural renewal. Within this context of European nation-building, colonial expansion, and Indigenous activism, traditional dress took on special meaning as folk, national, or ethnic minority costumes—complex categories that deserve reexamination today.
Through lavishly illustrated and richly detailed case studies, Dressing with Purpose introduces readers to individuals who adapt and revitalize dress traditions to articulate who they are, proclaim personal values and group allegiances, strive for sartorial excellence, reflect critically on the past, and ultimately, reshape the societies they live in.