Returning in a Different Fashion: Culture, Communication and Changing Representations of ‘Lolita’ in Japan and the West

Perry R. Hinton


A Japanese fashion style called Lolita has gained a cult following in the West. The appellation of Lolita appears surprising given that the style has the characteristics of the clothes of a Victorian doll, which initially appears to have nothing to do with the famous book by Vladimir Nabokov. Using the framework of Moscovici’s social representations theory, this article examines how different representations of Lolita have emerged and developed within Western and Japanese popular culture. The role of the cultural context in the formation of the different meanings in the use of the term Lolita is explained; and the potential for misinterpretation, when a representation from one culture is applied to another culture, is illustrated.


fashion, social representations, Lolita, Western popular culture, Japanese popular culture, cultural context

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