Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Blue Jeans: The Art of the Ordinary"

New from the University of California Press: Blue Jeans: The Art of the Ordinary by Daniel Miller and Sophie Woodward.

About the book, from the publisher:
This fresh and accessible ethnography offers a new vision of how society might cohere, in the face of on-going global displacement, dislocation, and migration. Drawing from intensive field work in a highly diverse North London neighborhood, Daniel Miller and Sophie Woodward focus on an everyday item—blue jeans—to learn what one simple article of clothing can tell us about our individual and social lives and challenging, by extension, the foundational anthropological presumption of “the normative.” Miller and Woodward argue that blue jeans do not always represent social and cultural difference, from gender and wealth, to style and circumstance. Instead they find that jeans allow individuals to inhabit what the authors term “the ordinary.” Miller and Woodward demonstrate that the emphasis on becoming ordinary is important for immigrants and the population of North London more generally, and they call into question foundational principles behind anthropology, sociology and philosophy.
Among the early praise for Blue Jeans:
"In their new book Blue Jeans: The Art of Ordinary, Woodward and Miller explore how jeans identify their wearer more than any other single garment. Whether on the runway, in prison, downtown or homeless, they say so much more about you than what you’re wearing-- whether you like it or not."
--Simon Collins, Dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons The New School for Design