American Civil War re-enactors’ dress as a symbol of political beliefs | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN: 2050-070X
  • E-ISSN: 2050-0718



The purpose of this research was to explore why some American Civil War re-enactors will galvanize while others will not, and whether this dress behaviour is tied to their political beliefs or their purpose while re-enacting. Galvanize, a term used by re-enactors, refers to the act of changing from one uniform (i.e., Union) into another (i.e., Confederate). It is common at American Civil War re-enactments that the two sides are uneven and some re-enactors need to change sides, or galvanize, to create a balanced battle scene. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected via an online survey from 214 re-enactors regarding their stance on political issues, purpose while re-enacting and willingness to galvanize. The theoretical basis for this research is Symbolic Interaction Theory and Dress and the Public, Private, and Secret Self model. This research adds an empirical approach to previous literature and documents perspectives from both Northern and Southern re-enactors.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Confederate; galvanize; re-enacting; self
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