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    #wordswewear: mobile texts, expressive persons, and conviviality in urban spaces

    Jaworski, A. and Lou, Jackie Jia (2020) #wordswewear: mobile texts, expressive persons, and conviviality in urban spaces. Social Semiotics 31 (1), pp. 108-135. ISSN 1035-0330.

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    In this programmatic paper, we approach #wordswewear, referring to the wide range of linguistic inscriptions on clothing and accessories, as part of the embodied, mobile semiotic landscape of the city. Our main objective is to reflect on (1) the conditions that gave rise to the apparent pervasiveness of #wordswewear in urban spaces, and (2) the extent to which they constitute a form of public, urban discourse. Drawing on an emergent collection of over 500 images photographed in situ, mainly in three global cities—Hong Kong, London, and Shanghai—the paper situates #wordswewear in everyday mobilities and moorings and considers their wearers as expressive persons. We contend that #wordswewear encapsulate the contemporary, paradoxical urban condition among city dwellers, whereby they seek a sense of involvement with one another while being “on the move” and maintaining their respective, individual comfort zones. Fleeting and ephemeral as they may be, such acts of momentary engagement (or avoidance thereof) are some of the most minimal, analysable acts of performing identities in public discourse. Finally, we suggest that #wordswewear can be considered as manifestations of urban conviviality understood as a space for the negotiation of diversity, inclusion and exclusion.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Clothing inscription, conviviality, mobile semiotic landscape, public discourse, wearable text
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Jackie Lou
    Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2020 09:59
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:48


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