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Beirut Looks - Racial Capital, National Aesthetics, and the Female Body.


This study investigates fashion and commercial models' embodiment of racial and linguistic capital within Beirut's fashion modelling industry. Taking the example of Beirut as the fashion metropolis of the Middle East, this study explores the impact of conflicting hegemonic neocolonial narratives of racialized and nationalized aesthetics on female Lebanese models as aesthetic labourers. Rooted in Lebanon's colonial history and ethno-religious diversity Beirut's fashion industry is strongly marked by conflicting racial and national aesthetic ideals, mirrored by the diverse bodily appearances of Lebanese models. This research asks how models, as active labourers and in charge of their bodily transformations, possess agency to either reproduce, but moreover resist and disrupt hegemonic aesthetic ideals, and thus challenge overarching racial and national hierarchies within the Lebanese fashion industry. It will shed light on the techniques with which models volitionally consume, manage, and employ bodily and linguistic symbols imbued with racial meaning as essential parts of their self-commodification and self-presentation. The proposed methodology consists of a mixture of participant observation, as a way to conceive embodied knowledge and as a base for subsequent interview questions. Visual ethnography, i.e. models' video diaries, will help to interpret the very practical visual constructions of models' 'selves'. Structured and semi-structure interviews with models and agents will help gain a deep understanding of models' bodily practices, and linguistic patterns. The use of language(s), namely Arabic, English and French, by models within their work space, during interviews, and video recordings will be unpacked through conversation analysis to understand the verbal (re)productions of racial, national and personal model identities in talk-in-interaction.

Project completion date : 2023-09-30 12:00:00

Major organization : KING'S COLLEGE LONDON

Address : Strand, London WC2R 2LS

Country :United Kingdom

Url :

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Jul 17, 2019
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