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Article
Author(s)

Ibtisam Ahmed

Affiliation(s)

University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

ABSTRACT

The British Raj provides a deep and rich case to study the implementation(s) of real-world political utopias. It fits with the definition of political utopian theory wherein the system was a reactionary attempt to solve contemporary systemic problems. As an imperial project aimed at civilising the native population and creating a good life for both them and the British officials stationed there, it is an embodiment of the utopian quest for an ideal and perfectible society. In this paper, the author examines how this attempt at utopia extended into the private sphere through the impact the British Raj had on gender through clothing. Gender was specifically seen as an embodiment of cultural, national, and even religious values, which provided a powerful tool for a narrative of the colonial Self against the pre- or anti-colonial Other. Clothing is a powerful inherent representation of identity and the narrative of the Raj, as well as the counter-narrative of independence, relying heavily on shaping notions of masculinity and femininity by controlling acceptability in clothing.

KEYWORDS

Political utopianism, history, Empire, colonialism, gender

Cite this paper

Sociology Study, July 2016, Vol. 6, No. 7, 436-447

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