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Anxious Nation and White Fashion: Suddenly Last Summer in the Swedish folkhem
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Fashion Studies. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, Musicology and Performance Studies.
2009 (English)In: Nordic Theatre Studies, ISSN 0904-6380, Vol. 21, no 1, 98-112 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates how Tennessee Williams’ play Suddenly Last Summer, as staged in Sweden in 1959, communicated sexual and racial anxieties. It aims to tease out the importance of fashion for the articulation of the closet and the expression of the simultaneous absence and presence of the queer subject in the play. Looking at the omnipresent use of whiteness of certain key costumes, the essay further proposes the concept of white Gothic fashion and argues that this assumed a whole new meaning when staged in a social and historical context that was not only characterized by institutionalized homophobia, but also promoted white hegemony and the control of women’s bodies. Placing particular emphasis on the socio-historical context of Sweden in the 1950s, the article demonstrates how performance studies and fashion theory can engage in a critical cultural analysis and help us understand national emotions, concerns and anxieties.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 21, no 1, 98-112 p.
Keyword [en]
Tennessee Williams, whiteness, closet, fashion, national anxiety, folkhem, welfare state
National Category
Performing Art Studies
Research subject
Theatre Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-34834ISI: 000278989800010OAI: diva2:285730
Available from: 2010-01-12 Created: 2010-01-12 Last updated: 2012-10-31Bibliographically approved

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