Congratulations to CCS Junior Fellow Dicky Yangzom for her recent publication, “Clothing and social movements: Tibet and the politics of dress,” in the journal Social Movement Studies.
Abstract: The ‘cultural turn’ in social movement studies has brought a renewed outlook on new social movements and lifestyle movements. In this development on the symbolic challenge of contemporary movements, research has expanded to both music and art. However, little is known about the role of clothing in movements and how activists use it for social change. In making the case for a greater consideration of clothing’s tactical use in identity work, this paper explores the case of the Tibetan Lhakar movement. I argue that for Lhakar activists, clothing is the materialization of the political consciousness of the movement and symbolically acts as a mechanism of communication in shaping its political goals. By using social media to observe individualized collective actions of wearing Tibetan clothing, the paper demonstrates how activists frame and create new political opportunity structures for civic participation in a one party state that controls all speech and movement.