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More than clothes hangers: cultural intermediaries in the field of fashion

Lonergan, Patrick P and Patterson, Maurice and Lichrou, Maria (2018) More than clothes hangers: cultural intermediaries in the field of fashion. European Journal of Marketing, 52 (9/10). pp. 2052-2074. ISSN 0309-0566

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Abstract

This paper aims to elucidate how cultural intermediaries shape the subjectivity of other marketplace actors in fashion, thus preserving the illusio underpinning this field of cultural production.As the fashion field is constructed around beliefs as to what constitutes value, the empirical data demonstrate how fashion models’ embody the illusio of the field and authenticate the values, meanings and identities inherent in it through aestheticised and rarefied styles of performance. These activities seduce other market actors and engender a willing suspension of disbelief that in turn mobilises affective intensities resulting in perceptions of legitimacy.To date, there has been very little consumer research that explores cultural intermediaries and less still that offers an empirical glimpse of their performance. This research adds greater clarity to these embodied performances that legitimate other market actors’ suspension of disbelief while also demystifying the ambiguity with which cultural intermediaries are discussed in consumer research.

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