Face Politics: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Face Politics

1st Edition

By Jenny Edkins


212 pages | 18 B/W Illus.

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The face is central to contemporary politics. In Deleuze and Guattari’s work on faciality we find an assertion that the face is a particular politics, and dismantling the face is also a politics.

This book explores the politics of such diverse issues as images and faces in photographs and portraits; expressive faces; psychology and neuroscience; face recognition; face blindness; facial injury, disfigurement and face transplants through questions such as:

  • What it might mean to dismantle the face, and what politics this might entail, in practical terms?
  • What sort of a politics is it?
  • Is it already taking place?
  • Is it a politics that is to be desired, a better politics, a progressive politics?

The book opens up a vast field of further research that needs to be taken forward to begin to address the politics of the face more fully, and to elaborate the alternative forms of personhood and politics that dismantling the face opens to view. The book will be agenda-setting for scholars located in the field of international politics in particular but cognate areas as well who want to pursue the implications of face politics for the crucial questions of subjectivity, sovereignty and personhood.


'An extraordinary and beautifully written study of the politics of the face. Building on her earlier Missing: Persons and Politics, Jenny Edkins unpacks in masterful detail the implications of Deleuze and Guattari's claim that 'the face is a politics'. How does the face relate to personality and individuality, images and imagination, to subjectivity and the self? These are some of the questions examined in this book. Setting an agenda, and the standards for following it, Face Politics is an urgent and crucial addition to Edkins's already substantial work.' - Stuart Elden, Professor of Political Theory and Geography, University of Warwick, UK.

'In this remarkable cross-disciplinary tour de force Jenny Edkins places the face at the center of politics. We now see ourselves no longer as singular and autonomous beings, but as inherently interconnected. A must read.' - Roland Bleiker, Professor of International Relations, University of Queensland, Australia.

'Face Politics is a remarkably innovative investigation. It's philosophically profound, politically astute, data rich, and (in the Edkins style) empathically written.' - Michael J. Shapiro, Professor of Political Science, University of Hawai'i, Manoa

Table of Contents

Introduction, 1. Faces in Photographs, 2. Moving Faces, 3. From Face Capture to Face Blindness, 4. Facelessness: Another Politics?

About the Author

Jenny Edkins is Professor of International Politics at Aberystwyth University. She is series editor with Nick Vaughan-Williams of the Routledge book series Interventions, and serves on the editorial boards of Security Dialogue, IPS: International Political Sociology, and Memory Studies.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory