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Andrew Curran


College of Social Studies


English (United States)


This work discusses cultural trends in Bourbon ancien régime France, as well as the rise of consumer culture in its relation to aspirational purchases and customs. The rise of consumer culture, in terms of a sheer increase in purchases per Parisian household, and in terms of the creation of a new cult of fashion, happened in an era before we witnessed the type of "true" mass media and the pervasiveness of nearly free markets that we know today. This study will be undertaken through the idea of hairstyles, with the idea of hair symbolizing sex, health, power, and vanity. By cataloging and assessing changes in the popularity of the male wig, female hair extension/wig, female hair accessory, and even specific hairstyles such as the Pompadour, I hope to argue that hair -- while being a nearly universal and longstanding feature of the human body -- was politicized and commercialized in this era to a degree never known before. In addition, consumer hair culture in the ancien régime unique.



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