Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Mimicry, mockery and Make-overs: Western visitors in South Pacific dress

Sturma, M. (2000) Mimicry, mockery and Make-overs: Western visitors in South Pacific dress. Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, 4 (2). pp. 141-155.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


The social meanings attached to dress are always potentially ambiguous, but especially so in cross-cultural encounters. This inquiry focuses on Westerners adopting indigenous dress in the South Pacific, employing three historical case studies. The first examines the role of clothing in relations between Tahitians and the mutineers from the HMS Bounty. The second shows how dress mediated the expectations of U.S. soldiers sent to the Pacific theatre during World War II. Finally, the documentary film Cannibal Tours (1987) is discussed in relation to dress and modern tourism. As these cases illustrate, the motives for Westerners adopting local fashion may range from mimicry to mockery.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Berg Publishers
Item Control Page Item Control Page