Pocketing the difference: pockets and gender in nineteenth-century Britain

Burman, Barbara (2002) Pocketing the difference: pockets and gender in nineteenth-century Britain. Gender & History, 14, (3), 447-469. (doi:10.1111/1468-0424.00277).


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Original Publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0424.00277


This study situates pockets as significant gendered objects in the dress and lives of men and women in the period from the 1790s to 1914. Using surviving examples and a diverse range of visual and documentary sources, it examines the role of pockets in the consumption of personal possessions and money, and explores how pockets occupied a special place in relation to the body and its gestures. By revealing differences in the way men and women used their pockets, the study concludes that pockets embodied change and complexity within the consumption of fashion and the construction of gender.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/1468-0424.00277
Additional Information: This is the first sustained exploration of the way pockets in male and female clothing have been used. It raises new questions about how they have shaped and encoded a gendered experience of the world. Working out from the established concerns of dress history with form and materials, the essay links these with everyday practices of gendered roles, including the possession of a repertoire of small personal items and the control and use of money. This paper combines a diverse range of types of primary sources with an examination of museum examples to make a multi-layered reading of its subject, including unexpected areas of female resistance to fashion. This paper was also published as 'Pocketing the Difference: Pockets and Gender in Nineteenth Century Britain’ in Barbara Burman and Carole Turbin, eds, 'Material Strategies: Dress and Gender in Historical Perspective', Oxford, Blackwell, pp. 77-99.
ISSNs: 0953-5233 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: pocket, dress history, gender
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Art
ePrint ID: 48180
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
November 2002Published
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2007
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:24
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/48180

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