State of undress: law, carnival and mass public nudity events

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Abstract

This article uses cultural analysis to explain why mass public nudity events are excepted and exempted from the typical legal regulations around public nudity. It uses two specific examples, namely the London version of the World Naked Bike Ride and the Tasmanian Nude Solstice Swim, to illustrate the broader connections between mass public nudity events and systems of dress regulation. It argues that whilst the legal allowance of these events breaks from the general pattern of prohibitions around public nudity, this disparity can be accounted for by reading these events through the interpretive framework of Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of ‘carnival’. This framework reveals that these licensed forms of carnival transgression affirm the limits of the dress regulations that they superficially appear to challenge, and that the legal allowance of these events performs the same function as the typical legal regulations around public nudity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-219
Number of pages21
JournalGriffith Law Review
Volume29
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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