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
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