One of the topics that we discussed in class this past week that struck me most was Weber’s theory of social classes.  Although I do believe that ones economic status greatly influences one’s style of living and consequently one’s social class, I think it is an interesting approach to understanding human relations and interactions.  The first thing that popped into my mind after talking about social classes in class was a website called Exactitudes that I was introduced to in a previous class.  Exactitudes was started by two photographers in the Netherlands in 1994 who were intrigued by “the striking dress codes of various social groups” in their hometown Rotterdam and began taking pictures of people and categorizing them by their dress (exactitudes.com/about).  Two decades later, they have now traveled all over the world, cataloguing 140 groups, and creating a sort of “anthropological record of people’s attempts to distinguish themselves from others by assuming a group identity” (exactitudes.com/about).

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I think Exactitudes is a great representation of social classes as it has literally created over a hundred different groups of people who are socially similar, although not necessarily connected to each other through economic status.  How you chose to dress is a very personal choice in that it is an outward expression of your likes and your interests and is representational of how you want others to perceive you.  Therefore, one can make the assumption that people that dress the same clearly have something in common with each other.  In this way, Exactitudes also brings up the concept of imagined community.  We know that there are other people out there that dress similarly to us and probably have similar interests to us, even though we might not actually know those people.  I think this is why a lot of time we are drawn to those who dress similarly to us, because we already have a sort of connection with them, through the imagined community.  I think this can be used to explain why in some neighborhoods, like Williamsburg for example, there seems to be a ‘hipster uniform’ because the people that live and hang out there are all a part of the same social class and therefore have very similar tastes and choose to express themselves in very similar ways.

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