Faces Inside and Outside the Clinic
A Foucauldian Perspective on Cosmetic Facial Modification
Drawing on studies of surface topography, image editing, and diagnostic and surgical experience, Faces Inside and Outside the Clinic addresses the notion of ’truth’ in what are considered to be ’right’ and ’wrong’ faces, whether in clinical cosmetic procedures or in specific sociocultural contexts outside the clinic. With attention to the manner in which the human face - and often the individual herself or himself as a consequence - is physically defined, conceptually judged, numerically measured and clinically analysed, this book reveals that on closer inspection, supposedly objective and evidential ’truths’ are in fact subjective and prescriptive. Adopting a Foucauldian analysis of the ways in which ’normalising technologies’ and ’techniques’ ultimately preserve and expand upon an increasing array of ’abnormal’ facial configurations, Faces Inside and Outside the Clinic shows that when determining ’right’ and ’wrong’ faces, what happens inside the clinic is inextricably linked to what happens outside the clinic - and vice versa. As such, it will be of interest to scholars and students of social, cultural and political theory, contemporary philosophy and the social scientific study of science, health and technology.
Tony McHugh is a research associate in the Department of Media, Music, Communication, and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, Australia, and has three decades of diagnostic and surgical teaching experience at the University of Sydney, Australia.
’This book is excellent in every dimension: originality, significance, scope of argument...demonstrating that medical knowledge is always situated and showing the relevance of Foucault’s work to our understanding of the contemporary patient as medical subject.’ Arthur Frank, University of Calgary, Canada ’Much has been written from outside the clinic about the body and the technologies that are employed to refashion it. This remarkable volume however is written by a surgeon from inside the clinic. The result is an authoritative but compassionate study of the face, its ontological complexity and its diverse cultural meanings.’ Bryan S. Turner, The City University of New York, USA ’This is a fascinating account of the face and its surgical modification by an oral plastic surgeon and scholar of Foucault. The angle of vision McHugh brings to the subject of cosmetic surgery is unique and imaginative; it is both theoretically sophisticated and grounded in the embodied experiences of patients and surgeons both inside and outside the clinic.’ Victoria Pitts-Taylor, Queens College and Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA 'This thoughtful, stimulating book will be of potential interest not just to those interested in the substantive topic who have some familiarity with Foucauldian approaches, but also to those wanting to amend Foucault with other theorists, the better to account for material embodiment, agency, and lived experience.' Canadian Journal of Sociology