An “excess of the normal”: Luxury and difference in Polish fur critique

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article calls upon fieldwork carried out in Kraków in order to analyse charges of ‘luxury’ in Polish fur critique. It draws from commentary both from ‘card-carrying’ members of Polish animal rights organizations and comparatively off-the-cuff remarks of those reflecting on fur’s provocativeness, without participating in the animal rights movement. In Central and Eastern European socialist and postsocialist contexts alike, luxury has often held a dialectical relationship with ‘normality’. The article argues that the meaning of luxury that emerges in Polish fur critique can be aptly described as ‘an excess of the normal’. Power, with which fur is frequently associated, is conceptualized not only as residing in the hands of elites but in the ‘normal’ and normalizing material culture that fur embodies. The ‘visibility’ of fur as outdoor clothing is critical in this regard. In discussing fur’s luxuriousness, themes of gendered and generational power and of the shortcomings of ethical consumption as a mode of political resistance come to the fore.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-295
JournalJournal of Material Culture
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2016

Keywords

  • fur
  • luxury
  • Poland

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