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Communicating Through Clothing

Title: Communicating Through Clothing: The Meaning of Clothing Among Hispanic Women of Different Levels of Acculturation.
Name(s): Inglessis, Maria Gracia, author
Korzenny, Felipe, professor directing dissertation
Flynn, Leisa, outside committee member
McDowell, Stephen D., committee member
Mayo, John K., committee member
School of Communication, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2008
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation is an exploration of how Hispanic women of different levels of acculturation communicate their individual, social and cultural identities through clothing and appearance. The purpose of this study is to help understand the way in which clothes, as objects, embody deeper cultural values, and how the meanings assigned to them are socially constructed and diffused in a bicultural context. This dissertation employs a cross-disciplinary theoretical perspective, bringing together concepts from social-psychology, symbolic interactionism, symbolic consumption, diffusion of innovation, and acculturation theories. Following the exploratory nature of this study, in-depth interviews and observations were employed to systematically examine the experiences of ten Hispanic women living in the United States. The study demonstrates that, when it comes to clothing and appearance, Hispanic women have more commonalities than differences. Hispanic women --regardless of the level of acculturation— retain over time a set of values and beliefs characteristic of the Hispanic culture. These values and beliefs are learned early on from their mothers and maintained through constant interaction with the Hispanic culture through friends and family. Hispanic cultural values drive the way Hispanic women communicate gender, attractiveness, age, ethnicity, and social class. Another important part of this work explains the competency that Hispanic women have in communicating the different roles of their identities through clothing and appearance. This competency allows them to balance the need to make a positive impression on others with the need for self-expression. Finally, this study illustrates the interconnection between the different aspects of the adoption of clothes by pointing out sensorial experience, fit, and interpersonal influence as the major drivers of adoption among Hispanic women.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-3871 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Communication in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Summer Semester, 2008.
Date of Defense: April 11, 2008.
Keywords: Material Culture, Acculturation, Clothes, Appearance, Hispanic Marketing, Fashion, Hispanic Women
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Felipe Korzenny, Professor Directing Dissertation; Leisa Flynn, Outside Committee Member; Stephen D. McDowell, Committee Member; John K. Mayo, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Communication
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Host Institution: FSU

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Inglessis, M. G. (2008). Communicating Through Clothing: The Meaning of Clothing Among Hispanic Women of Different Levels of Acculturation. Retrieved from