The article considers the possibilities of the sociological analysis of freedom by decod-ing meanings hidden in various elements of clothing. The author admits that it is extremely difficult to work with the concept of freedom in sociology due to both its elusiveness (empirical indicators are un-clear and ambiguous) and universality (everyone has his own idea of freedom and ways to define it). The author does not claim to develop a model of the sociological evaluation of freedom through its ex-ternal manifestations in the costume - just to outline the general sociological reasoning on the issue. First, the article considers some common interpretations of relations between freedom and causality, approaches to the study of freedom (its external and internal projections), analytical ‘optics’ to reveal the ways of self-expression in clothing (emphasis is made on the value-activity approach), and ‘ele-ments’ of freedom (possibilities and limitations, liberation and enslavement as coded in the correspond-ing clothing systems). The main part of the article considers the embodiment of these elements reflect-ing a certain degree of individual/collective freedom in the Russian costume in 1861-1905, in the so-called ‘post-reform period’ that provided some opportunities for the democratization of society and its capitalist development. The author underlines the social-political differences of two stages: the eve of bourgeois reforms and first years after the abolition of serfdom; and the 1880s and beyond. The article focuses on the specific changes of the costume in the Russian society in general (for example, adoption and adaptation of the European urban costume) and in different (urban) strata (petty bourgeois, nobility, merchants, etc.) including generational, gender and other features of costume transformations.

A V Pankova

Principal contact for editorial correspondence.
Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University) Miklukho-Maklaya St., 6, Moscow, Russia, 117198

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