Gold teeth, Indian dresses, Chinese lycra and ‘Russian’ hair: embodied diplomacy and the assemblages of dress in Tajikistan

Ibanez-Tirado, Diana (2016) Gold teeth, Indian dresses, Chinese lycra and ‘Russian’ hair: embodied diplomacy and the assemblages of dress in Tajikistan. Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, 34 (2). ISSN 0305-7674

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This article examines the assemblages of dress in Tajikistan as a showground of everyday diplomacy, and seeks to stimulate recognition of the alternatives sites of diplomacy that play an active and dynamic role in mediating political relations between diverse nation-states, the brand-images of nations and the communities with which they intersect. I suggest that the term ‘embodied diplomacy’ is useful to convey the processes through which Tajikistan’s people negotiate the government-led dress-codes and navigate the social pressures about public gendered-images in relationship to local notions of the physical body, senescence and modesty. The incorporation of so-called foreign items to Tajikistan people’s apparels trigger the situations in which the assemblages of particular bodies and items of dress most clearly emerge as diplomatic sites. Such everyday situations, often arising in the realms of family life, reveal Tajikistan residents as diplomats insofar as they reflect on their roles as the country’s representatives at the same time as they deploy their skills of communication, persuasion, and mediation to negotiate between compulsory dress-codes, incoming fashion trends, family expectations and personal aesthetics. In so doing, they shape diverse subjectivities informed by geopolitical processes, local notions of honour and loyalty towards Tajikistan, and complex understandings of being Muslim that are important within Tajikistan, the Central Asian region and beyond.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Embodied diplomacy, dress, fashion, clothing, Tajikistan, nationalism, gender
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology
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Depositing User: Diana Ibanez-Tirado
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2016 10:18
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2018 01:00

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