Political Fashion: Interrogating identity and ideology

Seminar presented by Dr Jo Coghlan, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, University of New England

3:00pm Thursday 30 March 2017

A2 Arts Lecture Theatre, UNE


This research seeks to examine the political-cultural discourses that shape and impact on the dressed political body. It intersects Foucault’s (1980) claim that bodies are managed by specific disciplinary regimes with the Barthian practice of reading the dressed political body as a ‘text’ (Barthes 1985) that is mediated by liminal political culture (Turner 1991). It seeks to understand how political fashion transects body, culture, identity and ideology. The aim is to develop further conceptual links that inform how the dressed political body is a social practice (Entwistle 2000; Corrigan 2008).

It visually examines fashioned political bodies that inform how discourse can be replicated as well as resisted.


Dr Jo Coghlan is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of New England. She is a former political staffer in the Keating Government (1993-1996). Her research has interrogated the political fashion of former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri (2001-2004) and Pauline Hanson (1996-1998).

Current research has examined the political fashion of Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama arguing that while both women performed gender their political fashion was an act of resistance informed by their feminist and post-feminist ideologies. In found that both women challenged the discourse of the idealization of American womanhood that the US first lady has come to signify. This research is forthcoming in a special edition of About Performance (16, 2017).

Launch seminar recording