By Heather Laine Talley

Imagine your self with out a face—the job turns out very unlikely. The face is a middle function of our actual id. Our face is how others determine us and the way we predict of our ‘self’. but, human faces also are functionally crucial as mechanisms for communique and as a method of consuming, respiring, and seeing. For those purposes, facial disfigurement can endanger our primary notions of self and id or perhaps be lifestyles threatening, at worse. accurately since it is so tough to hide our faces, the disfigured face compromises visual appeal, prestige, and, possibly, our very means of being within the world.

In Saving Face, sociologist Heather Laine Talley examines the cultural that means and social importance of interventions aimed toward repairing faces outlined as disfigured. utilizing ethnography, participant-observation, content material research, interviews, and autoethnography, Talley explores 4 websites during which various faces are “repaired:” face transplantation, facial feminization surgical procedure, the truth express Extreme Makeover, and the foreign charitable association Operation Smile,. all through, she considers how efforts inquisitive about fix occasionally accentuate the stigma linked to disfigurement. Drawing upon studies volunteering at a camp for kids with serious burns, Talley additionally considers substitute interventions and daily practices that either problem stigma and aid these visible as disfigured negotiate outsider status.

Talley delves into the promise and boundaries of facial surgical procedure, always interpreting how we would comprehend visual appeal as an aspect of privilege and a size of inequality. finally, she argues that facial paintings isn't easily a conglomeration of reconstructive recommendations aimed toward the human face, yet relatively, that visual appeal interventions are more and more handled as lifesaving paintings. specifically at a time while aesthetic applied sciences wearing better possibility are rising and while discrimination in keeping with visual appeal is rampant, this significant e-book demanding situations us to imagine seriously approximately how we see the human face.

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Extra resources for Saving Face: Disfigurement and the Politics of Appearance

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33 Despite what can be modest outcomes, facial work is made to seem compulsory. ”34 In other words, interventions that promise some semblance of normalcy ignite a “fix-it” reaction. 35 By contrast, normalizing interventions largely operate outside of this logic. Techniques of normalization—from face transplantation to tissue grafting like Lucy Grealy experienced—are deployed toward making patients more “normal” and more recognizably human. Viewed in this way, facial work is not simply a biomedical product for consumers to purchase, but an obligatory intervention.

Bodily forms deemed to be ugly, deformed, fat, grotesque, ambiguous, disproportionate, or marked by scarring or so-called birthmarks constitute what can be called appearance impairments that qualify as severe social disabilities. 38 Facial Work >> 37 While those subject to facial work might express a desire to appear more “normal,” these interventions also function in the service of societal norms. For example, those with facial variance often experience employment discrimination. Thus, disfigurement and subsequent ableism potentially compromise economic security.

Medicine technically intervenes and diagnostically situates human bodies using normalcy as a point of comparison. Basic clinical encounters make use of visualization technologies like x-rays and MRIs Facial Work >> 35 in order to discover bodily difference, but in the process, those bodies deemed abnormal are stigmatized. 32 While facial work certainly facilitates repair, it is also a technique of inscribing or cultivating bodily norms. In many cases, aesthetic surgery cannot comprehensively craft a face that is perceived as normal.

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