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Space, Gaze and Power: A Foucauldian Methodology for Fashion Advertising Analysis

Richardson, Tina (2019) Space, Gaze and Power: A Foucauldian Methodology for Fashion Advertising Analysis. Fashion Theory. pp. 1-20. ISSN 1362-704X

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Abstract

This article examines fashion imagery in regard to representations of power as they pertain to the mise en scene of fashion advertising. By employing a specific form of image critique employed by Michel Foucault in The Order of Things (1966), a new methodology for analyzing fashion advertising is proposed and formulated. This form of critique enables elements such as the gaze, light and space to be framed into lines of sight. These lines can be examined in regard to the viewing subject, the staging of the advert, and structures of power. In his critique of the painting by Diego Velázquez Las Meninas (1656 Velazquez, D. 1656. Las Meninas. Madrid: Prado Museum. [Google Scholar]), Foucault states: “No gaze is stable, or rather, in the neutral furrow of the gaze piercing at a right angle through the canvas, subject and object, the spectator and the model, reverse their roles to infinity” (2005, 5). These themes enable us to use this methodology to critique fashion imagery and this article offers up a new approach to visual analysis, one that has not been considered before and that can now be added to the fashion theory toolbox.

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