Clothing and Nudity as Cultural Markers in Travelogues

Lennart Pettersson
University of Gothenburg, Sweden

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Ingår i: Current Issues in European Cultural Studies; June 15-17; Norrköping; Sweden 2011

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 62:63, s. 593-602

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Publicerad: 2011-11-22

ISBN: 978-91-7519-993-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


During the 19th century more than 200 travelogues by foreign visitors to the Nordic countries were published. To understand these books one has to analyze the written text as well as the illustrations as the media communicates in different ways.

One of various themes in the travelogues is the dichotomization of “we” and “the other”; were we (the author) are seen as superior in comparison to the other (the natives or in some cases indigenous people). In the depictions and descriptions of clothing and nudity it is possible to analyze how these dichotomizations were constructed; and to some extent also understand how different categorizations concerning the other still are active. It must be stated that it is not always an easy formula of “the other” as inferior in comparison with the writing “we” as the clothing also have a practical dimension in the actual environment.

The paper will deal with a small number of examples from different parts of the century. The examples will be chosen from travelogues here clothing and nudity is a theme in both text and pictures. In doing so it is possible to study development as well as the impact of media specific phenomena.


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