2014 | 15(2) |
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CULTURES OF THE PAST: “The pastor‘s new clothes”: Reclericalisation of Protestant clothing in German-speaking countries since 1970

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This article illuminates the changes in the way pastors dress in German-speaking Protestantism.It is based on a historical analysis of clothing conventions from the inventionof liturgical clothes for ecclesiastical personnel since the 1970s. Our point of departure isthe abolishment of liturgical vestments in favour of non-liturgical garments during theReformation and, since the middle of the 20th century, the subsequent reversal of thisdevelopment, i.e. the reintroduction of liturgical vestments. This development is mirroredin clerics’ civilian clothing. We refer to this reversal process as a ‘reclericalisation’ of Protestantismin regards to clothing and critically assess its sources and merits. A major pointin our argument is that liturgical clothes communicate theological and political meaningsas well as social status. Changes in the clothing system therefore have wider consequenceswhich need to be considered in light of the Protestant Churches’ theological and socialroles today.
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