Sociological perspectives on imposed school dress codes: Consumption as attempted suppression of class and group symbolism

David Crockett, Melanie Wallendorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

As a reaction to crime and gang violence, public schools in U.S. inner-city areas are increasingly implementing dress codes. Dress codes restrict students use of clothing as an element of contemporary expressive consumption. The authors discuss three emic rationales for implementing dress codes: prevention of gang-related violence, prevention of clothing theft, and the imposition of discipline. They employ sociological theories of conflict, control, and delinquency to determine how dress codes function and their likely consequences, including their potential to produce hegemony and gender inequality. Several forms of student resistance to dress codes are outlined, and the authors conclude that dress codes shift rather than eliminate the symbolic expressions of class, ethnicity, and group membership that serve as the basis for school violence. The authors also acknowledge that a less well-articulated outcome of dress codes may be to partially stem the tide of brand obsession among young consumers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-131
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Macromarketing
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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