PhD Course September 25-26


New announcement!! Fashion-ology or research on fashion? The politics of knowledge


PhD Course:

Fashion-ology or research on fashion? The politics of knowledge

September 25-26, 2006 (Registration by June 30)

New announcement

The focus of this Ph.D. course is the politics of knowledge about fashion. How should fashion be studied? What are the implications of epistemological and methodological choices made in research projects? How do they match institutional and political concerns?

Fashion has long been a rich, if sometimes overlooked, field of study in disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, semiotics, geography and economics. Yet, scholars from established disciplines often find themselves struggling to come to terms with the depth of fashion as a cultural phenomenon and the complexity of the fashion business. Is it possible to do research on fashion without some kind of interdisciplinary approach?

Recently, there have been decisive attempts, most notably through the journal Fashion Theory, to turn fashion research into a coherent field of knowledge. In her book
Fashion-ology, Yuniya Kawamura goes so far as to argue that fashion research should constitute a discipline of its own. Similarly, in a press release, issued 15.02.06, Stockholm University announced that based on a donation from H&M, it will develop ‘a new academic discipline of fashion studies’. However, there is still a long way to go.  

The fashion industry plays an increasing, but ambiguous, role in facilitating fashion research through funding and definition of research problems. As it has developed from garment manufacturing into a post-industrial creative sector, it has encountered the need for a new kind of knowledge, not yet fully understood. This opens the door for knowledge-producing partnerships between industry and research institutions, and in the process adds pressure on researchers to identify their contribution.

We see academic knowledge of fashion as a spectrum in which the extreme positions are indicated by the words of the course title: ‘fashion-ology’ – fashion studies as a discipline in its own right; and ‘research on fashion’ – fashion as an empirical field of study in established disciplines. Through a series of lectures, group workshops and plenary discussions, the course brings out different implications and possibilities offered by these positions with regard to theories, methods and strategic considerations. It addresses the politics of knowledge at two different levels: the individual level – in terms of participants’ research projects and career prospects – and the institutional level, which includes research and educational institutions, business-research partnerships and the overall political scene. The course is open to Ph.D. students in universities, design schools, business schools and others. It will be conducted in English.


Lise Skov Associate Professor, Copenhagen Business School. Lise Skov is a cultural sociologist who has done extensive research on fashion, including her Ph.D. on Hong Kong fashion designers and more recently on the culture and economy of fur and fashion. She will act as a moderator and discussant throughout the course.

For further information + practical information please see

The Ph.D. course is a part of the MOKO/imagine.. partnership. MOKO is a fashion research consortium consisting of institutions under the Danish Ministry of Culture: Centre for Design Research, Denmark’s Design School, Kolding Design School and the Danish Museum of Art & Design. imagine.. is Copenhagen Business School’s initiative for creative industries research

The page was last edited by: Communications // 05/30/2006