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Abstract

Academic dress is perceived by many to be fixed and unchanging, yet this study illuminated how rich, diverse, dynamic and changeable it can be. Using a socio-material approach called actor-network theory meant that the focus of attention in this study was on how academic dress was mobilized in relation to degree ceremonies and to what effect. By focusing on academic dress in this particular way, the aim was to highlight how academic dress contributed to making and shaping degree ceremonies.

This study found that academic dress generated similar and different effects across degree ceremonies held at different institutions, and concluded that using actor-network theory provided an opportunity to look closely at how similar and different cultural values, assumptions and expectations, were constructed in relation to academic dress.

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