Eicher, J.B. 1995. “Introduction: Dress as Expression of Ethnic Identity.”

Eicher, Joanne B. 1995. “Introduction: Dress as Expression of Ethnic Identity.”  Pp. 1-6 in Dress and Ethnicity: Change Across Space and Time, edited by Joanne B. Eicher. Washington D.C.: Berg.

“Dress is a coded sensory system of non-verbal communication that aids human interaction in space and time. The codes of dress include visual as well as other sensory modifications (taste, smell, sound, and feel) and supplements (garments, jewelry, and accessories) to the body which set off either or both cognitive and affective processes that result in recognition or lack of recognition by the viewer. As a system, dressing the body by modifications and supplements often does facilitate or hinder consequent verbal or other communication” (1).

“The body modifications and supplements that mark the ethnic identity of an individual are ethnic dress” (1). Ethnic dress is used to position people within “time and place relationships” (4) with each other – as both of these concepts link to perceived meaningfulness of heritage, (location?), affinity/opposition to others — though great lengths are attempted to preserve ethnic dress (“frozen in time”), there are still nuanced ways that ethnic dress is modified over time, place.

Nash (1989): “Difference in dress, from whole costumes to single items of apparel, serve as surface markers of group differences.  These items of apparel best serve when visible and public, but items of dress may reinforce group boundaries, even if not visible […]” (12, here 5).


Nash, M. 1989. The Cauldron of Ethnicity in the Modern World. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


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