Skip to main content

Politics of Patents: Re-imagining citizenship via clothing inventions 1820 - 2020

Objective

From Victorian women cyclists, who suffered social stigma for daring to replace their skirts with bloomers a century ago, to the recent French burkini ban, where women were forcibly removed from beaches, specifically clothed bodies have long been sites of debate about gender, race, class and religion in public space. Clothing is directly connected to social life and the political world and as such is central to ideas around the politics of identity, participation and belonging. Yet, it is under explored in relation to citizenship studies. This five-year project undertakes for the first time a transnational sociological investigation of 200 years of clothing inventions. It focuses on clothing patents in Espacenet, the European Patent Office’s free online database. Inventors are the focus as they operate on the cutting edge of social and political change; building on the past to make claims on the present and imagine different futures. Central to this research is the idea that clothing inventors can be explored as citizen-makers and that clothing patents are rich untapped sources of data that render visible alternative citizenship possibilities, which may provoke new questions about things we take for granted. The research will be located in a Patent Lab using an inventive mixed-methods approach including quantitative and in-depth visual and document analysis, interviews with inventors and garment reconstruction.

Field of science

  • /humanities/philosophy, ethics and religion/religion

Call for proposal

ERC-2018-COG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-COG - Consolidator Grant

Host institution

GOLDSMITHS' COLLEGE
Address
Lewisham Way
SE14 6NW London
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 802 154

Beneficiaries (1)

GOLDSMITHS' COLLEGE
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 802 154
Address
Lewisham Way
SE14 6NW London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments