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Monday, April 7, 2014

Gary Watt on Law, Dress and Fashion

Dear All, 

here are some introductory remarks on this week's classes. 

Please read carefully!

Professor Gary Watt’s three seminars under the title ‘Law, Dress and Fashion’ are based on chapters from his book Dress, Law and Naked Truth: A Cultural Study of Fashion and Form (London: Bloomsbury, 2013) ( The seminars will use cultural and artistic sources (including The Epic of Gilgamesh, Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus, Shakespeare’s Othello and Twelfth Night, Dickens’s novels and Daumier’s lithographs) to show that ‘dress is law and law is dress’. The history of political civilization is the history of social regulation that has been simultaneously, and similarly, established in the cultural forms we call ‘dress’ and ‘law’. The first seminar, ‘Foundations of the State of Dress’, demonstrates foundational, architectural qualities shared by dress and law, with special reference to The Epic of Gilgamesh. Students should familiarize themselves with the text of the Epic in advance of class. We will be using the Andrew George penguin translation (which can be accessed free online: enter ‘’ into Google and you will see a pdf available for free download). The second seminar, ‘Shakespeare on Proof and Fabricated Truth’ looks at the way in which the language and culture of legal proof closely parallels the language of armorial proof, with the result that the artificial process of producing satisfactory armour can be said to mirror the artificial process by which legal evidence produces satisfactory proof in a court of law. (In order to prepare for the second seminar, students should read Shakespeare’s plays Othello and (or) Twelfth Night (available online here: This seminar will suggest that proof is a manufactured thing, thereby challenging the assumption that juridical courts are constituted for the purpose of discovering underlying or ‘naked’ truth. This leads to the subject of the third seminar, ‘The Face the Law Makes’. In this seminar we will see how the legal profession performs the public face of law through theatrical use of costume and how this performance reinforces the architectural foundations of the law and presents a carefully-fashioned fascia of authority. (In order to prepare for the third seminar, students should browse the images of Daumier’s legal lithographs here:
In addition to the readings set out above, please carry out the following brief tasks ahead of each seminar. Seminar One: come prepared to share a source or a quotation from creative literature (a novel, a play, a fairy tale etc) which supports or challenges the statement “dress is law”. Seminar Two: come prepared to share a source or a quotation from creative literature of the period 1550-1650 which demonstrates deception by dress, or doubt based on perceived discrepancy between inner substance and outward form. Seminar Three: please bring a nineteenth century (1800-1899) image of a lawyer to class and be prepared to discuss it. The image should not be by Daumier.

Prof. Watt's brief CV: 
Gary Watt is a Professor in the School of Law at The University of Warwick. He is a National Teaching Fellow and was named UK ‘Law Teacher of the Year’ in 2009. His books include Trusts and Equity 6th edn (OUP, Oxford, 2014), Equity Stirring: The Story of Justice Beyond Law (Oxford, Hart, 2009) and Dress, Law and Naked Truth: A Cultural Study of Fashion and Form (London, Bloomsbury Academic, 2013). He is a founding co-editor of the journal Law and Humanities, and writes extensively at the intersection of law, culture and the arts. He has written for BBC Radio 3, the Times Literary Supplement and regularly delivers workshops in rhetoric for the Royal Shakespeare Company.


  1. I agree with the professor.All  the methods of care of their appearance respond, first, to an innate need to protect and assert their individuality, not found in the animal world (see culture). The consciousness of his own self, which characterizes the human being, is expressed as an experience of separation, separation against others and the environment that surrounds it. The human being is characterized as homo faber, that is expressed through symbols, so even the ornament and dress, tattoos, etc.And I fully agree that the dress represents an order: even in our society, it is easy to recognize the belonging to a certain group just by the way of dressing; but also in the manner as required in the work or for example in a jail (see the maximum-security prisons in America).
    Luigi Winkler

  2. "The aspect of the exterior image of the Judge"
    Here I would bring the thought of one of the most brilliant judges of Italian history, Rosario Livatino,killed by the Stidda,a mafia organization that was in contrast with Cosa Nostra.He,during a conference,used this words in order to show that the aesthetic has a relevant weight in the legal world:"It is said that he Judge,as well as be indipendent,should be appear indipendent."In this way He underlined the presence, near the important problem of the substance,of the ineliminable problem of the Appearance,the Form."The indipendence of each judge must be identified not only in his consciousness,in his unremitting moral freedom,in his fidelity to the principles,in his ability to sacrifice,in the clarity and linearity of his decision,BUT ALSO in his morality,in the trasparency of his conduct outside his Office,in the normality of his relationship.The indipendence of each Judge must be finally found in his credibility, which He won in the labor of his decisions and in every moment of his career.Inevitably,therefore,we must reject the assertion according to which "Once performed conscientously and scrupoulously his professional duties,each Judge has no other obligation to comply with, in respect of the society and the State and that,therefore,the Judge can do what he wants.The external credibility of the Judges is essential in a democatic State.Those who ask for Justice must be aware that their arguments will be listened to with attention and seriousness; Only if the Judges provide this type of availabity, the citizens can trust in the State's Justice.

  3. Clothing doesn’t refer only to dresses, it has universal and anthropological meanings and it is connected to many aspects of our life. Also if there are societies that do not know clothing as we do, they adorn themselves with body paints, tattoos, jewelries or scarifications: they aren’t really naked. For example, in past, the communities that lived in the Tierra del Fuego had a social order based on body paints and leather dresses were only used against the cold but because the body paints we can’t say that they were nudes.
    A Dress can have many meanings: magical, social, sexual… In every community people are dressed in a difference way: all depends from who they are.
    For example in some African societies kids have to be naked until they get married, In Japan old men wore dark dresses, we recognize a Sikh from his turban and his long beard, a Hindi widow because she doesn’t wear anymore the sindoor (a red dust that she puts on her hair after the wedding) and her jewelries and she wears a white dress and we recognize married couples because they wear the wedding rings, a chief from his batons and the shaman from his drum and the animal skin on his shoulder.
    In our occidental point of view clothing is also connected to decency, shame, decorum… because we feel ashamed when we are naked, especially if we don’t cover the genital organs, but is it true? After this lesson and few personal researches I don’t think that the answer is yes. In the relation between shame and dress there is more than the embarrassment of being seen naked or it would be crazy that we feel embarrassment also if we are overdressed. We feel shame and awkwardness when we infringe the social order, in fact we do not feel ashamed if we take our cloths of for a physical examination or if we are naked in a nudist camp. In different periods every part of human body aroused shame: the face of women in Islamic countries, hands and foots in China, the ankles in Europe… In the end we can say that clothing is connected to the historical period and to the social context.

  4. This is an article from "Repubblica" 28/4/1997.
    I think is very interesting.The author is Umbero Galimberti (professor of philosophy of history and general psychology and dynamic psychology at the University of Venice, as well as a full member of the International Association of Analytical Psychology).
    The title is "Ma L'anima non è mai nuda" ("But the soul is never naked").
    i hope the transation is good enough,i'll paste the link at the bottom!

  5. In the pages dedicated to the shame that we can read in Aesthetics , Hegel writes that : "The dress generally finds its justification on the one hand the need to defend themselves against the effects of bad weather , the other in shame. Modesty is the beginning of anger against something that should not be . The man who becomes conscious of his top target , its spiritual essence , can not avoid to consider inadequate what is animal-like , and can not strive to hide those parts of his body that serve only to animal functions and have neither a direct determination spiritual or spiritual expression . "
    The zoologist Desmond Morris, famous for his studies on primates , in his book The Naked Ape informs us that : "There are 193 living species of monkey with tail and no tail ; of these , 192 are co- perte of hair. The exception is constituted by a naked ape that has autochiamato homo sapiens. This breed exceptional and extremely capable spends a lot of time to examine their motives more noble , and just as carefully to ignore the fundamental ones . It is proud to have the most massive brain among all primates , but tries to hide the fact that you have even the biggest sex , preferring to accord this honor to the mighty gorilla . "
    The clothes are not then an accessory that the phenomenology of the body can ignore. They tell us how the man feels his body as he accepts and rejects it as , and , if the motivation is later than the protection of modesty, as if ashamed . No coincidence that Adam and Eve, who roamed the Earth in Paradise naive nudity , not just tasted the apple of wisdom " for they realized they were naked and they were ashamed " ( Genesis 2:7). It is a shame that arises from the nakedness of their bodies, but from the look of God that puts them in the nude. They were naked , but only after that gaze became naked and so hid and fled.
    What is the meaning to give this hide and escape, those fig leaves sewn together in the form of belts, in those first rudimentary garments taken to hide their shame? Sartre saw good about where it Being and Nothingness states that : " Modesty , and in particular the fear of being caught in a state of nudity that are not symbolic specifications of original shame : the body symbolizes here our objectivity without defense. Dressing means to conceal their objectivity , claim the right to see without being seen, that is, to be pure subject. For this reason, the biblical symbol of the fall, after original sin , is the fact that Adam and Eve realize they are naked . "

  6. Georg Simmel (1858-1918) , one of the peaks of sociological thought of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the Hegelian definition of modesty as "the beginning of anger against something that should not be " is correct, but not in the sense Hegel understands it . Modesty , in fact, does not defend the body from its nakedness , but that objectivity is reduced when a glance, investing , deprives him of his subjectivity. Modesty , then, is the rebellion of the body against the loss of their own subjectivity , and the garments are practical defense against this threat.
    It goes without saying that for those who like Hegel solve the subjectivity in the spirit , the body as such will be subject to shame, to the degree that he " animalistic ," for which "the awakening of spiritual consciousness " must necessarily coincide with the birth of shame that betrays an ill shame, rejection of the ancient kinship. " Modesty replaced only with the memory of the body," says Hegel , Kierkegaard , and , despite his aversion to Hegelianism , in The Concept of Anxiety writes that : "In the spirit of modesty is taken from the anxiety and fear of animal dress up the difference . " With Hegel and Kierkegaard , we are still in the conception of the body as improper covering of the spirit, as his ill-concealed shame.
    But if it is shameful corporeality , to what shame shame defends us ? There are Simmel loving glances and looks of desire . Love is poverty , is deficient ; is waiting for the other body running one space and , filling a void and meetings. In the meeting there is no use of a body, but acceptance of a gift ; gestures do not grasp , sfio - Rano ; looks do not possess , receive the gratuity of an offer that the other , in the fullness of its subjectivity , it grants .
    The desire , however, knows no meetings, not reduce their subjectivity to create the space necessary appropriation of subjectivity of others. The desire for possession only knows saturation . In his eyes , there are no traces of a wait, but the frenzied lust to meet others only himself , so if a body is bare for owning the flesh, to tear , with his clothes, and all traces of subjectivity the gaze of desire , unlike the look of love , does not know face .

  7. Locked in his loneliness , the look of desire becomes saturated with those images haunting and heavy that only the bodies stripped of their clothes, and the grace of their gestures like offering inertia of the meat. Hence the revolt of decency , "the beginning of that wrath for something that should not be ." What protects modesty is not the spirit of the vulgarity of the body as Hegel believed , but life from the inertia of the body of the flesh, the subjectivity of a living body from a painful objectivity of flesh possessed.
    For Simmel , in fact , the intimacy is the core of personal identity and the relationship with the other, because the underwear is what is denied and the outsider is granted to those who wants to get into your deep secret and often unknown to ourselves. Who reveals to us and penetrates us are in his hands , as his thing. From here modesty , which is not a matter of underpants , but vigilance on the borders where you decide the degree of opening and closing towards each other. It can indeed be naked without conceding , without even a crack open another of his own soul . The freedom of the body still does not say anything about our availability to another.
    Since we are hopelessly exposed to the other , and from the look of the other hopelessly objectified , modesty is an attempt to maintain their subjectivity communicating to others they do not like their intrusion into the depths of our soul that preserves the intimacy . Then " intimacy " does not mean , as is usually believed , be with one another , deeply with another, without barriers or borders, but be secretly themselves in the presence of the other.
    And here the intimacy combines with discretion , in the sense that if 1 ' "to be intimate with another " does stand out from ' ' to be hopelessly in the hands of the other , " intimacy must be discreet and do not reveal the entire their underwear , so that does not dissolve the mystery that fully revealed, makes it all so predictable and extinguishes not only the source of fascination , but also the possibility of our idealization , the game of secrecy and the hope of its revelation , the beauty hidden charm of the unknown that is , and not just for 1'altro future together , but for ourselves.
    Perhaps this is why Plato had thought Eros as the son of Poverty ( Penia ) and Wealth ( Poros ) . Love, in fact , started as a lack of ownership ( which originates from the desire, which lives only on what we do not have) , and feeds on the richness of your emotional world that, Simmel writes : "Without danger there may be in full only those who absolutely can not be given in full . " They give in , do not give up in the end, because their fund is not limited to an act , and that therefore it retains the intimate , undisclosed , makes his own inner an inexhaustible source for the idealization of the other. For its fascination.

  8. Other than naked bodies , of which our culture is proud of the liberation of the body. Intimacy is not a matter of " private parts ," the game is more subtle secrets of the soul that intimacy and upholds all the way so that each of us is not revealed , and the fascination is not extinguished . For this intimacy can only return to his sense of sexuality not only from each other bodies, but play around a secret not to be revealed, and together they search for the unveiling of which every embrace, if he wants to be at the level of true intimacy you try, try , and eventually defeat.
    This is perhaps the reason why Plato, in his dialogue on love, the Symposium , writes: " The lovers who spend their lives together does not mean they know what they want from each other. It certainly can not believe that just for the trade of carnal pleasures they experience a passion so ardent to be together. It is then evident that the soul of each one wants something else that is not able to speak, and therefore expressed with vague forebodings , as divining by a fund enigmatic and dark. " The intimacy defends this fund , and those who neglect the intimacy , neglects the bottom of himself, to surrender to the bland taste of insignificance

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  10. Last year, during the lectures of Diritto Comune, Professor Conte spoke about the ancient German institute called ‘Gewere’. ( > geweren, to dress).
    The Latin word which corresponds to gewere (as evidenced by Visigothic sources) is 'vestitura' which etymologically comes from ‘vestitus’, i.e. dress.
    Thus in the Middle Age to ascribe a right in rem on a fief or enters into its possession was required to be "dressed" of the right. This occurred during a ceremony rich of symbols.
    On the other hand we have the ‘actio spolii’, through which you deprived someone of a right. Even here there is a connection between law and dress, because etymologically "spolium" means ‘take off your clothes’.
    Words related to clothing were used to give or take away a right to someone, the rights were like a dress that identify a person in the society, the appearance of a status.
    An echo of the use of the term investiture, which to us may seem so ancient, survives in our civil code in the discipline of debt securities: for example the art. 1998 cc II paragraph says “Il premio è INVESTITO a norma dell'articolo 1000.”
    Also spolium has not disappeared: art. 1169 cc says “La reintegrazione si può domandare anche contro chi è nel possesso in virtù di un acquisto a titolo particolare, fatto con la conoscenza dell'avvenuto SPOGLIO.”
    It’s funny to discover these connections in topics that I have already studied. This is an exciting new point of view!

    Gemma Di Stefano

  11. Last year I was with Gemma at the lessons of Diritto Comune and I remember our debate about the “gewere” (investitura). We saw the “gewere” in the use of the scholars of Commercial Law and at the end we found out a strange thing: “gewere” is not a Germanic institute, but a canonical institute.
    “To dress someone”(investire qualcuno) means to legitimate and the scholars of Commercial Law based their theory of legitimation for the debt securities on this concept of Gewere. In particular Finzi, who took this theory from Naendrup, a germanist.
    Germanist scholars were proud of their institute “gewere”, translated in latin “vestitura”, and its modern application… but be aware! Here it is Kobler! He discovered that the word “revestire” appeared in ecclesiastical sources, and then, thanks to the Visigoths, it passed to the juridical language. In this first appearance “revestire” meant “to restore the previous situation, before the authority had deprived someone of his privileges”(letter of King Ervigio). This is very close to the “actio spolii”, a canonical remedy described very well by Ruffini. But Kobler did not make the final conclusion, the link of these institutes. The “spolium” appeared firstly in the “Decretali Pseudo-Isidoriane”, as an exceptio; the “spolium” is of course the opposite of “revestire”. But the relationship between investitura-spolium-revestire was not so clear until scholars thought that the “actio spolii” was reserved to the bishops. We can think about the debate of Gerstungen in 1085: was it possible to apply for Henry IV, who had been excommunicated by Gregory VII, the preclusion because he had been “spoliatus”? For the imperial part yes, for the papal part it was a privilege only for the bishops.
    Then we had the Decretum and its Glossators. Uguccio tried to extend the principles of Graziano, making them available for every circumstance; and here it is a fusion between civil law and canonical law: the Roman “possessio” was similar to the canonical “vestitura” and it had to be protected with the same remedy: the “actio spolii”. The final big opening of the remedy of the “actio spolii” to everyone and to every situation of property had been made with Innocence III.
    So the theory of Gewere, dear Germanists of the XIX century, was created by the canonists! And “vestitura” is a word older than your “gewere”.

  12. This is a is a fun tale by Hans Christian Andersen (1837) that can be referred someway to the term “naked truth”!
    Many years ago there lived an emperor who loved beautiful new clothes so much that he spent all his money on being finely dressed. His only interest was in going to the theater or in riding about in his carriage where he could show off his new clothes. He had a different costume for every hour of the day. Indeed, where it was said of other kings that they were at court, it could only be said of him that he was in his dressing room!
    One day two swindlers came to the emperor's city. They said that they were weavers, claiming that they knew how to make the finest cloth imaginable. Not only were the colors and the patterns extraordinarily beautiful, but in addition, this material had the amazing property that it was to be invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid.
    "It would be wonderful to have clothes made from that cloth," thought the emperor. "Then I would know which of my men are unfit for their positions, and I'd also be able to tell clever people from stupid ones." So he immediately gave the two swindlers a great sum of money to weave their cloth for him.
    They set up their looms and pretended to go to work, although there was nothing at all on the looms. They asked for the finest silk and the purest gold, all of which they hid away, continuing to work on the empty looms, often late into the night.
    "I would really like to know how they are coming with the cloth!" thought the emperor, but he was a bit uneasy when he recalled that anyone who was unfit for his position or stupid would not be able to see the material. Of course, he himself had nothing to fear, but still he decided to send someone else to see how the work was progressing.
    "I'll send my honest old minister to the weavers," thought the emperor. He's the best one to see how the material is coming. He is very sensible, and no one is more worthy of his position than he.
    So the good old minister went into the hall where the two swindlers sat working at their empty looms. "Goodness!" thought the old minister, opening his eyes wide. "I cannot see a thing!" But he did not say so.
    The two swindlers invited him to step closer, asking him if it wasn't a beautiful design and if the colors weren't magnificent. They pointed to the empty loom, and the poor old minister opened his eyes wider and wider. He still could see nothing, for nothing was there. "Gracious" he thought. "Is it possible that I am stupid? I have never thought so. Am I unfit for my position? No one must know this. No, it will never do for me to say that I was unable to see the material."
    "You aren't saying anything!" said one of the weavers.
    "Oh, it is magnificent! The very best!" said the old minister, peering through his glasses. "This pattern and these colors! Yes, I'll tell the emperor that I am very satisfied with it!"
    "That makes us happy!" said the two weavers, and they called the colors and the unusual pattern by name. The old minister listened closely so that he would be able say the same things when he reported back to the emperor, and that is exactly what he did.

  13. The swindlers now asked for more money, more silk, and more gold, all of which they hid away. Then they continued to weave away as before on the empty looms.
    The emperor sent other officials as well to observe the weavers' progress. They too were startled when they saw nothing, and they too reported back to him how wonderful the material was, advising him to have it made into clothes that he could wear in a grand procession. The entire city was alive in praise of the cloth. "Magnifique! Nysseligt! Excellent!" they said, in all languages. The emperor awarded the swindlers with medals of honor, bestowing on each of them the title Lord Weaver.
    The swindlers stayed up the entire night before the procession was to take place, burning more than sixteen candles. Everyone could see that they were in a great rush to finish the emperor's new clothes. They pretended to take the material from the looms. They cut in the air with large scissors. They sewed with needles but without any thread. Finally they announced, "Behold! The clothes are finished!"
    The emperor came to them with his most distinguished cavaliers. The two swindlers raised their arms as though they were holding something and said, "Just look at these trousers! Here is the jacket! This is the cloak!" and so forth. "They are as light as spider webs! You might think that you didn't have a thing on, but that is the good thing about them."
    "Yes," said the cavaliers, but they couldn't see a thing, for nothing was there.
    "Would his imperial majesty, if it please his grace, kindly remove his clothes." said the swindlers. "Then we will fit you with the new ones, here in front of the large mirror."
    The emperor took off all his clothes, and the swindlers pretended to dress him, piece by piece, with the new ones that were to be fitted. They took hold of his waist and pretended to tie something about him. It was the train. Then the emperor turned and looked into the mirror.
    "Goodness, they suit you well! What a wonderful fit!" they all said. "What a pattern! What colors! Such luxurious clothes!"
    "The canopy to be carried above your majesty awaits outside," said the grandmaster of ceremonies.
    "Yes, I am ready!" said the emperor. "Don't they fit well?" He turned once again toward the mirror, because it had to appear as though he were admiring himself in all his glory.
    The chamberlains who were to carry the train held their hands just above the floor as if they were picking up the train. As they walked they pretended to hold the train high, for they could not let anyone notice that they could see nothing.
    The emperor walked beneath the beautiful canopy in the procession, and all the people in the street and in their windows said, "Goodness, the emperor's new clothes are incomparable! What a beautiful train on his jacket. What a perfect fit!" No one wanted it to be noticed that he could see nothing, for then it would be said that he was unfit for his position or that he was stupid. None of the emperor's clothes had ever before received such praise.
    "But he doesn't have anything on!" said a small child.
    "Good Lord, let us hear the voice of an innocent child!" said the father, and whispered to another what the child had said.
    "A small child said that he doesn't have anything on!"
    Finally everyone was saying, "He doesn't have anything on!"
    The emperor shuddered, for he knew that they were right, but he thought, "The procession must go on!" He carried himself even more proudly, and the chamberlains walked along behind carrying the train that wasn't there.


  15. It crossed my mind that last year, in Paris, it was repealed a law of 213 years old, which said that women were prohibited to wear pants or any other men's clothes. The law was known as the '26 Brumaire de l'an XIX' and it was introduced just after the French Revolution, period in which the renegades or rebels wore long trousers in opposition to the 'culottes' (knee-lenght pants) wore by aristocracy. This group received the nickname of 'Sans-Culottes', and played an important role in the period above-mentioned, directly attacking the idea of social differentiation. Women didn't have the rights to wear the same long trousers, and those who did were arrested and taken into custody, except if they had written permissions from the police headquarters. Later, the law was reviewed and women were then allowed to use pants for some functional purposes, that is, when they were 'holding the handlebars of a bicycle or the reins of a horse'. Many years later, the text of the law wasn't enforced anymore, but no one could revoke it because the authorities considered it to be a waste of time as the text was already part of the 'French archaelogy'. But in 1972, Michele Alliot-Marie, technical counselor to the Minister Edgar Faure, was about to enter the Parlament when she was stopped by a bailiff. She replied, without hesitating: "If my pants are bothering you, I'll take them off straight away." It's is said that one reason for the enactment of such law was to limit the access of women to some offices or occupations. And since the beginning we've been trying to prove that there is no reason to stop us from entering or working in some places. By dressing also menswear, we've shown our civil identities, and that we're not inferior to men. We didn't dress only pants, but also our strong, our independency, and our proof that we are capable of handling everything.

  16. Dress and LAw

    In the sociological and anthropological literature the role of dressing in human society, apart from the functional use, has been a form of non-verbal language or a code through which people communicated their place in society.
    People have generally many things to communicate about themselves,so, in a way, the dress choice expresses their individuality.
    Dress code in society especially in the past helped create a hierarchy inside the community: an order that could be non-verbally expressed or non violently imposed but just implied from people's appearance.
    The way of dressing is always been also not only a sign of belonging to a certain group, but also a way of excluding the others who dress differently from that same group. Therefore dressing up is not only a form of communicating a status, but also a way of marginalising other people. A dress choice is like a statement about ourselves: it says who we are and what is our place in society.
    Through imposing dress codes is also possible to control the masses and to make order in society: it is used in prisons and in other correctional institution and it is also used to define people's functions, like the uniforms of policemen or firemen or scrubs for doctors.
    In times of changing, when the central power is doubted or loses authority or when the wind of revolution changes direction, people don't know where they belong in society so new dress codes start and fashion changes. ( Like what happened In The 60s- 70s when women changed their way of dressing revealing more parts of their bodies to express their right to be free and independent. It is still happening now ).
    We've seen then the two aspects of dressing:
    -projection, which means to express something about who we are, a sort of code that the others will be able to interpret using the key that are well known inside the community,
    -protection, (which can be considered also part of the projection aspect), that means of course to protect yourself at a functional level from the environment, but also, for deeper reasons, from other people claims or doubts about your status, in this way to keep up appearance becomes essential, like an armour to make people feel secure.
    But what's really behind all the appearances? is this a fabricated truth?
    In class we talked about how in courts we try to reach the naked truth and how it is a metaphor very difficult to accomplish in reality because what can be really found is nothing but a solid reason to demonstrate a point, but it is never a 100% certain. Is it the same when we dress? " Cucullus non tacit monachum" wrote Shakespeare. So why does law bother that much on people appearance? When we dress everyday are we all putting on masks? And if it is true is this a good thing? Since when masks are good? Masks are for criminals, they have to conceal their identities in order to let them escape a live unpunished, masks are for people that have something to hide, but the concept is bigger, clothes and dressing codes are not masks anymore, as I said, they are armours that are supposed to protect us and at the same time to create order all around us. They protect us because they are like the wall for a city, they scream our status to the other and they make sure that he's aware of our position. In this way, through time, everybody had known what was their place in society and everybody's functions just from how they look.
    In the end, Law is an artificial mean of control that creates Order and the order is kept by controlling how people dress in every occasion, that's why law is so anxious to control how people look like, and people accept it, in quiet times, because it gives them an instrument to defend themselves from ouside "attacks" and to keep the status quo as it is.
    Laura Sonnino Silvani

  17. "Dress is protection and projection."- quoting professor Gary Watt- Dress has it's own function, we dress as not to get could, we dress to not get hurt, but why to we remained fully dressed in summer or undressed in winter depending from the occasion? It is a projection of ourselves, when we see a man wearing a suit we presume he is educated, that is why in my opinion men wear suits on important occasions, some say we get dressed to difference ourself to animals. Aren't we different from animal because of a reason? Why do we thing a civil person wear clothes, I think it is all a proof to others that we are part of the community, we do not want to show out. It is as law, to become part of a community and be accepted you have to respect the rules of that environment. As Gilgamesh when he got dressed he could fight the rules, the law, but he first had to "enter" them.

  18. I was interested in the way the professor explained how and why people decided to put clothes on at the beginning, this theory seems to be built on "Adam and Eva" myth, and is based on the will of people to distinguish themself from the animals and to get closer to God. As a profan of this subject I got a critic: I think that the reason why people started to put clothes on was firstly a functional reason ( as an example: I feel cold so let me get something on ), so without analyzing why they were behaving like this. Later, during history people started to get more rational and so they started to feel like they needed to give a rational answer to everything they had around them and even to everything people have done in the past; for me is as this point that people started to give more importance to "fashion"as a way to choose their style to distinguish themself from the others and to define their personal power in the communities. What I wanted to say is that, for me, with law it works, and worked, in the same way: I mean firstly law is made to give an answer to people needs ( so is functional ) and then it comes that "plus" which the professor was giving importance during last week lessons.

  19. I 've been fascineted by what the Professor said about the Proof an the fabricated Truth, particularly about the extract of Othello we analyzed in class:

    "Be sure of it. Give me the ocular proof...... Make me to see ’t, or at the least so prove it
    That the probation bear no hinge nor loop
    To hang a doubt on, or woe upon thy life!..."

    This Extract gave me a cause for reflection about which is the real meaning ( i mean , in practice) of the pursuit of what we call justice.
    Indeed, ideologically speaking , in order to realize the idea of justice in a concrete case the judge would be focused on the pursuit of the real truth. but actually ,as the drama of Shakspear shows us (as well as nowadays's lawsuits demonstrate) what is really important ? not the discover of the real truth but it's considered enough a satisfactory proof that "doesn't let the judge going through the Armor" (paraphrasing shakespare's words) ; it is nothing more than the one of the basic principles of our criminal law which affirms that for the convincing of the judge about a certain criminal case it is sufficient a " proof beyond any reasonable doubt".
    All of that means that even if "the Armor" has got some holes ,which could lead to another Truth ,to another " justice ", it has any relevance until the judge can't get through them.
    So, appearance is the key word necessary to understand how the justice system works and, in a bigger prospective, how the world does.
    But at the end i wonder : is this fair?

  20. Regarding the topic of dress and its significance in society I found an interesting essay written by the german philosopher and sociologist Georg Simmel.
    In fact he was one of the first sociologists who tried to approach the field of fashion from
    an scientific point of view. In 1905 he published his first article about fashion: „Philosophie der Mode“ (philosophy of fashion). His contemplations had a big impact and are influencing debates in this field until today.
    Simmel‘s theory is based on the elemental assumption that the phenomena of fashion originates from the inherent human dualism of imitation and separation.
    These dualism is the trigger of a chain of action and reaction which are constantly repeating themselves.
    The phenomena of imitation and separation emerges particularly clear between the different social strata, so between the higher social classes and the lower ones.
    The mechanism of fashion according to Simmel is the following: The lower social classes try to imitate the higher ones. By doing so they create amongst the economically more advantaged individuals the wish to separate themselves from the poorer.
    In consequence the higher classes are looking for new symbols of their identity creating simultaneously new fashion.
    According to Simmel fashion is therefore the product of social class differences. In Simmel‘s opinion without a society who is defined by social class tensions there would be no room for the birth of fashion. To underline his thesis he refers to primitive cultures, where the establishment of classes has not taken place and concurrently neither has the development of fashion. Also in communist and egalitarian societies where all people are considered ‘equal‘ this fear of commingling of hierarchies does not exist.
    So following the thesis of Simmel it is mostly the more advantaged classes who determine the rhythm and form of fashion.
    He therefore has to be considered one of the ‘trickle-down-theorists‘ who assume that fashion trickles down from the higher to the lower classes of society.
    It is however exactly this ‘trickle-down‘ approach which nowadays constitutes the ‘weak spot‘ in Simmel‘s theory and the reason why since the seventies his conception has been discredited.
    Instead there were developed various other theories assuming different diffusion processes.
    For example the ‘trickle-up-approach‘ which explains the chance of fashion, in contrast to Simmel, with the spreading of dressing habits from the lower classes up to the higher ones.
    Or the ‘trickle-across-approach‘ which assumes a horizontal spread of spread of fashion.
    Or in the fusion of the two theories the ‘trickle-up-and-down-approach‘ which adopts the conception that fashion influences spread simultaneously from higher and lower classes.



  22. Dress is law and law is dress

    'The history of political civilization is the history of social regulation that has been simultaneously, and similarly, established in the cultural forms we call ‘dress’ and ‘law’'.

    Throughout the proposal of the theory proposed by Gary Watt’s, that dress is law and law is dress, it became quite clear that once again the nature and substance of the law, in theory, is somewhat entwined with, and along, the path of our political civilization.

    What happened at the beginning of our civilization that caused us to admit to a system of law throughout all of the goods of our lives? Our music, our art, our architecture and our language is manipulated in some way by a structure of law.

    The myth of Adam and Eve, according to Watt’s, gives us a glimpse as to how our ancestors viewed themselves and others within society. The nakedness and freedom expressed in the myth before the fall of Adam and Eve represents a freedom away from ‘rules chiselled in stone’ and, as the word Eden is rightly translated, it represents a paradise of equality. The beginning effects of man looking away from ‘the rock from which they were hewn’, by the eating of the apple, accordingly gives us a rich backdrop as to how humanity could understand themselves and the world around them. The freedom lost in this act can explain the suspicion and law that these early people found themselves under.

    However the most striking similarity between this myth and the proposal of Watt’s is the relationship between the feeling of being naked, and the implementation of rules and suspicion. In other words, the feeling of nakedness, due to the looking away of perfection (or as Watt’s expresses, gold), meant that man had to prove his worth by living under the efforts of dressing himself. This dressing up is the link between living righteous under the law and living clothed before God.

    In understanding this living similarity it is possible to see the impact of laws domain across all areas of humanities political civilization. Law is dress and dress is law, law is given to reveal nakedness and righteousness before such a law is the original freedom proposed as the gold of Eden.