Faces inside and outside the clinic: a foucauldian perspective on cosmetic facial modification

Tony McHugh

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFarnham, UK
Number of pages191
ISBN (Print)9781472412171
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Facial expression
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Body language


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