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SEMINAR: Anthropology/Sociology Seminar Series

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Today's date is Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Anthropology/Sociology Seminar Series : Cosmetic Matters: The Relational Body and the Ethics of Beauty in South Korea Other events...
This presentation discusses the social meanings attached to beauty work and cosmetic aesthetic technologies of the body in Korea. Drawing on extensive archival media resources, contemporary self-help and professional literature written by cosmetic surgeons and beauty professionals and interviews with cosmetic surgeons, I will trace the main contours of Korean beauty discourses from the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945) to present day in order to illustrate how the social meanings attached to cosmetic aesthetic practices have shifted from an external signifier of urban modernity and cosmopolitanism, to the enterprising individual’s desire to optimise the body. Moreover, in Korean beauty industry narratives beauty work has been increasingly constructed as a socio-moral duty, and therefore this social and relational approach to beauty practice go beyond simplistic notions of vanity and investment in self. In this presentation I hope to offer a critical re-examination of the (Western) notion of ‘moral’, ‘authentic’ or ‘healthy beauty’ by positing the surgically altered body as a strategic one precisely because it is perceived to be a relational body that responds to the intersubjective gaze of others around it. Moreover, if technologies of self - such as cosmetic surgery - are seen to allow the body to look pleasing to others, then the surgically enhanced body must perhaps no longer be seen as an unethical body out of control (as it is often presented in Western media), but a relational body making rational choices.
Speaker(s) Dr Jo Elfving-Hwang
Location Social Sciences 2.204
Contact Alka Sabharwal <[email protected]>
Start Fri, 13 Apr 2018 14:30
End Fri, 13 Apr 2018 15:30
Submitted by Grace Ryan <[email protected]>
Last Updated Wed, 11 Apr 2018 09:37
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