Historical Social Research

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Simone Schiller-Merkens: Will Green Remain the New Black? Dynamics in the Self-Categorization of Ethical Fashion Designers. [Abstract]

Research on categorization and category dynamics has been rather silent on the role of powerful third parties in the self-categorization of producers. This study sheds light on this question by analyzing dynamics in the self-categorization of designers in the British ethical fashion movement. Their task of self-categorization is particularly complex in a context in which conflicts between aesthetics, morality and the economy still persist. Most of them enter the field as activists. Over time, however, designers stress their moral ideals less in their self-categorization, but put more emphasis on business-related values. Some even switch their self-identities from that of activists or moralists towards identifying as entrepreneurs. In this article, I argue that the designers’ dependency relations to a powerful audience member allow us to better understand these dynamics in self-categorization.

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