On any given day nearly half the world's population is wearing blue jeans. This is entirely extraordinary. Yet there has never been a serious attempt to understand the causes, nature and consequences of denim as `the' global garment of our world. This book takes up that challenge with gusto. It gives clear, if surprising, explanations for why this is the case, challenging the accepted history of jeans and showing why the reasons cannot be commercial.
While discussing the consequences of denim at the global level, the book consists of some exemplary studies by anthropologists of what blue jeans mean in a variety of local situations. These range from the discussion of hip-hop jeans in Germany, denim and sex in Milan through to the connection between denim and recycling in the US. But through all these intensively researched ethnographies of local denim we build our understanding of the most curious of all features of blue jeans - the rise of global denim.
Daniel Miller is Professor of Material Culture at University College London. He is the author of many books, including The Sari (with Mukulika Banerjee, Berg, 2004), Anthropology and the Individual (Berg, 2009) and The Comfort of Things (2009).
Sophie Woodward is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Manchester and author of Why Women Wear What they Wear (Berg, 2007).
Chapter One: The Global Denim Project: Daniel Miller, University College London, and Sophie Woodward, University of Manchester
Chapter Two: The Making of an American Icon: The Transformation of Blue Jeans during the Great Depression: Sandra Comstock, University of Western Ontario
Chapter Three: Diverting Denim: The Ecology of Jeans in Popular Hindi Film: Clare Wilkinson-Weber, Washington State University
Chapter Four: How Blue Jeans went Green: The Materiality of an American Icon, Bodil Olesen, Aarhus University
Chapter Five: The Limits of Jeans in Kannur, Kerala, Daniel Miller
Chapter Six: ‘Brazilian Jeans': Materiality, Body and Seduction at a Rio de Janeiro Funk Ball: Mylene Mizrahi, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Chapter Seven: Indigo Bodies: Fashion, Mirror Work and Sexual Identity in Milan, Roberta Sassatelli, University of Milan
Chapter Eight: Jeanealogies: The (Im)permanence of Relationships, Sophie Woodward
Chapter Nine: Picaldi Jeans and the figuration of working-class male youth identities in Berlin: An ethnographic account: Moritz Ege, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Chapter Ten: The jeans that don't fit: marketing cheap jeans in Brazil: Rosana Pinheiro-Machado, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul