The racial politics of plastic surgery

Alexander Edmonds, So Yeon Leem

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter examines the political issues raised by plastic surgery that alters the so-called racial or ethnic features. It discusses the history of this medical practice in the United States and how it has been practiced in two non-Western countries: South Korea and Brazil. Race is not a quality of the face or body given in nature, but rather has been enacted by surgery differently in different historical periods and nations. This comparative perspective shows that critiques of racial plastic surgery should take into account local contexts of practice. Some political concerns raised by this practice, however, cut across regions. Racial surgeries reflect wider social inequalities and an emerging medical discourse, which claims to reject the explicit whitening goals of the past, in fact continues to pathologize non-white facial features.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Beauty Politics
EditorsMaxine Leeds Craig
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780429283734
ISBN (Print)9780367246570
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Companions to Gender


Dive into the research topics of 'The racial politics of plastic surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this