Aesthetic surgery has been the subject of significant sociological research, primarily concerning women and the debates that surround their bodies. These discussions have centered around the stereotyping of women’s bodies, resulting in a specific type of femininity construction (Franco 2008; Jones 2006), or the empowerment of women for health reasons through non-essential/optional procedures (Heggenstaller et al. 2018). Edmonds (2009) notes that aesthetic surgical procedures have an aspect of Human Enhancement (HE) (Şahinol 2016) and go beyond mere consumption, aiming for mental and sexual well-being, such as enhancing sexual attractiveness.
In recent years, biomedicalization processes have extended to male bodies through HE Technologies, resulting in a growing demand for interventions in men’s hair and body hair. Aesthetic surgical procedures and minimally invasive procedures, such as hair transplantation and laser hair removal, respectively, have become popular among men (American Society of Plastic Surgeons). This situation highlights the need for research on interventions in men’s hair and body hair.
This article is based on a qualitative research study conducted between March and July 2020, which focused on medical (non-surgical) interventions in men’s hair and body hair. The study aims to contribute to critical posthuman literature by exploring the reconstruction of the posthuman male body through hair transplantation technology. The study also seeks to discuss the liberating possibilities and limiting aspects of the posthuman male body that emerges around these interventions.
Therefore, the primary research question of this article (turkish) is how the posthuman male body is reconstructed with hair transplantation technology, and what are the implications for the posthuman male body’s liberating possibilities and limiting aspects. The article concludes by highlighting the contribution of the study to critical posthuman literature and suggesting avenues for future research.
Excerpt from the text:
In order to understand post-human masculinity, we emphasize the importance of considering the combination of body and technology, such as self-care, as a socio-bio-technical care complex (Şahinol and Başkavak 2021). Additionally, it is important to look at socio-technical elements such as health policies in order to gain a holistic perspective. Such an approach considers the post-human body as a “socio-bio-technical process” and provides an analytical framework for discussing how the body is shaped both on a micro and macro level (Şahinol). The political elements that make up the macro level, such as health policies, are a product of a collective imagination about social life and order specific to each country, which Jasanoff and Kim define as “socio-technical imaginaries” (Jasanoff and Kim 2009). Through this concept, we can discuss how health policies and ultimately the body are shaped by country-specific visions. Therefore, in order to think more deeply about health governance, it is appropriate to expand the concept of socio-technical imaginaries to include the “bio” aspect, based on Şahinol’s concept of socio-bio-technical processes, and to define free medicine zones as socio-bio-technical institutions that include all the social values, technological opportunities, and practices of the relevant community or belief groups (Aydın 2020).
In summary, this article focuses on the biomedication processes in Turkey and Iran and the emergence of post-human masculinity through hair and body hair technologies, and emphasizes the importance of evaluating them in terms of socio-technical imaginaries, which are important components of the healthy society desires of these countries. Since conducting research that covers the individual histories of millions of men and trillions of hair follicles in Turkey and Iran is not possible, and taking the idea of representation that is impossible according to the new materialist framework that considers matter as an agent that creates, transforms and is transformed, this article takes the body as a geography (Holton 2020) and prefers “cartography instead of classification” (Tuin and Dolphijn 2012, 111).
Şahinol, M., & Taşdizen, B. (2022). İnsan Sonrası Erkek(lik): Saç Ekimi Örneği. In S. Buran & P. Kumbet (Eds.), Çokludisiplinlerde Posthümanizm (pp. 443-456). London, UK: Transnational Press London.
Institut Français Istanbul – Taksim İstiklal Caddesi No°4, Şehit Muhtar 34435 İstanbul, Turkey
Yuvarlak masa toplantısı katılımcıları: Arsev Umur Aydınoğlu (ODTÜ, Bilim ve Teknoloji Politikaları) Yücel Günal (Grafik Tasarımcı) Eser Epözdemir (Sanatçı / Kültürel Üretici) Merve Şahinol (Sanatçı, Düsseldorf) Moderatör: Melike Şahinol
Bilim insanları dünyayı tanımlamaya ve açıklamaya çabaladıkları her alanda, sanatçılar da öznel bakış açılarıyla dünyayı yeniden yaratmak, sorgulamak ve hatta yeniden inşa etmek arzusundadırlar. Sanatçılar, biyo- ve teknobilimlerin bireylere ve topluma yarattığı zorluklarla giderek daha fazla ilgileniyorlar. Teknobilime yönelik bu sanatsal yaklaşımlar, ahlaki, etik ve dini soruları gündeme getirerek kamusal alanda tartışmak için de önemlidir. Bu panelde tam da bu çekişmeli konuları gündeme getirmek istiyoruz. “Hair:y_less Masculinities” başlıklı projemizin sonuçlarını, yeni yayınladığımız Bilim İletişimi kitabımız aracılığıyla sunarak, bilim, sanat ve iletişim alanından uzmanlar eşliğinde kamu açısından anlaşılır ve diyalog odaklı bir iletişimi teşvik etmek istiyoruz.
by Melike Şahinol, Burak Taşdizen, Gülşah Başkavak
On February 10, 2022, the second panel of the IRSSC Closing Conference titled “Perform_Factur_ing /Healthy/ Wo_Man: Iran, Turkey and Beyond”* started with welcome remarks from the IRSSC project initiator, Raoul Motika and with the co-PI of the IRSSC project, Melike Şahinol, who led the sub-project “A Cartography of Hair:y_less Masculinities. A Comparison between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Turkey.” In addition to Melike Şahinol, Burak Taşdizen and Gülşah Başkavak were also involved in the project as well as in the organization of this panel.
Motika first thanked all the participants and drew attention to the importance of the research focus “Human, Medicine and Society” under which this panel was organized. He especially thanked all the academics from Iran who engaged in collaboration under the difficult conditions brought by the pandemic. Melike Şahinol thanked both German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for funding the wider “Knowledge Unbound” project of which IRSSC is a part, and all those involved in supporting it, especially Katja Rieck. Additionally, Şahinol also thanked all involved in her project: Mira Hazaa, providing Melike Şahinol with the initial literature review back in 2019, and the project team members Burak Taşdizen and Gülşah Başkavak for their efforts also in organizing this panel. Thanks also have been addressed to Raoul Motika for his role as discussant and to Emine Öncüler Yaylar for chairing this panel.
Şahinol drew attention to the non-binary character in formulation of the title of the project (Hair:y_less Masculinities) and the panel as they are inspired by Donna Haraway’s work titled Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium. FemaleMan_Meets_OncoMouse. Şahinol underlined that the constellation in the panel title is a non-binary of attempt to challenge gender and health concepts and how these concepts are performed and manufactured. Here, with a posthumanist programmatic, the organizers draw attention to the importance of overcoming of the centrality of the human subject and the hegemonic anthropocentrism in philosophy and the sciences in general. The various approaches of New Materialism counter the widespread assumption that matter is a “passive substance waiting for human processing” with a concept of matter that instead ascribes to it a “self-organizing potential.” For instance, Karen Barad would conceptualize matter, in distinction to other concepts, as an evolving process of historicity brought out by intra-action. Matter and materiality would thus be understood as dynamic intra-active becoming or as a “coagulation of activity.” From an analytical point of view, it would make sense to draw attention to different actions and capacities for action processed by different actors – human or non-human, to not only give action a single name but to elaborate specific gradual details through concepts in order to show constellations of power, colonization, and processes of (de-)naturalizations.
By establishing the necessary background for the panel, it was pointed out that “Perform_Factur_ing /Healthy/ Wo_Man: Iran, Turkey and Beyond” aimed to bring together scholars working on masculinities, health and related issues in geographically, culturally, and academically diverse environments in order to discuss socio-technical and socio-cultural circumstances around empowerment, (medical) technology and the body. The panel addressed questions around managing and experiencing dis/abilities and health, media assemblages and medicalization processes of masculinities from a theoretical, empirical and artistic point of view.
In her presentation titled “Military Disability, Everyday Experiences, and Masculinity”, Nurseli Yeşim Sünbüloğlu (Kadir Has University) discussed the construction of gendered, militarized disability among combat-injured Kurdish conflict veterans in the interplay of official identity and embodied everyday life experiences of a continuing internal armed conflict. Sünbüloğlu emphasized the complex dynamic of inclusion (particularly through military gazi titles and social benefits) and exclusion (as person with disability) in veterans’ daily lives. She also stressed the need to take into consideration the dynamics of exclusivity and commonality as well as making sense of the everyday practices of military disability. The interaction between veterans and the general disabled population in Turkey follows a similar pattern: while veterans distance themselves from the wider disabled population on the level of military identity (gazi), they recognize commonalities in bodily experience on a daily basis.
Azam Naghavi (University of Isfahan) presented a co-working paper (with Mahtab Esmaeilipour) titled “Lived Experiences of Challenges of Love Among Iranian Girls with Physical Disability”. The authors highlighted that one of the unmet requirements of Iranian women with disabilities is in intimate relationships such as love and sex. The failure to address this demand is set against a larger cultural backdrop in which frank discussion of love and sex is often frowned upon. On the other hand, meeting the psychosocial needs of people with disabilities, Naghavi argued, is a challenge in Iran. As a result, people with disabilities are exposed to societal beliefs on love and sex that are improper, particularly for women, and this has detrimental psychosocial effects for this population. However, in their presentation, authors also referred to the fact that veterans with disabilities are more likely to be married. On the other hand, marrying women with disabilities would be seen as doing something good rather than being associated with romantic love, for example. Naghavi, in conclusion, pointed out that research on other cities of Iran or with married women with disability might have different findings.
Karen Hvidtfeldt (University of Southern Denmark) introduced her research project Medicine Man: Media Assemblages of Medicalized Masculinities (funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, 2018-2023) and the outputs of her research group. The research examines how everyday cultures and conceptions of middle-aged men’s bodies emerge as masculinity becomes increasingly both mediatized as media assemblages in popular culture, social media, news, and online health sites and medicalized. Accordingly, Hvidtfeldt emphasized three forms of practices shaping masculinities to be analyzed: Material practices, language-based practices, and cultural practices. While the female body has long been subjected to medical interventions and aesthetic treatments, and the early age male body has been subjected to more regulation, discipline, and medical diagnostic intervention, the middle-aged men’s bodies have dodged regulatory interference until lately. Today’s middle-aged men are subjected to rejuvenating treatments, modifications, and performance-enhancing substances. As to be discussed, masculinity would emerge from both gendered and medicalized technologies and thus allow us to acknowledge gender as performative and contextual and thus a research subject in flux.
In his presentation titled ”The Post-Stoic Soldier: Managing Mental Health During Britain’s Psywars‘”, Alexander Edmonds (University of Edinburgh) focused on stoicism as a collection of practices and moral standards that define mental health and health treatment in military communities, which are debated today. Edmonds examined how research participants communicate about suffering and violence in various military, clinical, and social situations – and the repercussions of such discussion – using ethnography with soldiers, ex-soldiers, and mental health professionals. Since the early 2000s, a “post-stoic” military subject has emerged requiring to speak about their mental health rather than suffer silently. This new issue would spring from Britain’s psywars, a term Edmonds uses in a broad sense to describe a military formation in which not only enemy and foreign populations, but also serving and retired soldiers, are psychologically managed. Instead of seeing military subordinates as problematic patients, Edmonds suggested that they have insight into the psywar contradictions, which have significant ramifications for mental health care, military institutions, and future wars.
After these four presentations, the panel was rounded with a performance lecture by the independent choreographer Setareh Fatehi. In herperformance-lecture titled “(i) the disabled IRL”, Setareh Fatehi explored the notion of ableism in the context of international gatherings and remote communication. The technologies that act as a bridge between distant bodies, which are incorporated in the devices and the behavioral patterns of those who use them, might obscure the cognitive difference between I and the Other, giving the impression that “they are the same”. Fatehi raised the question whether the framework of ableism would shed light on the issue from a different perspective. Could it be that the bodies invited to the international and diverse dream of global thinking are getting disabled by the institutions that are only inviting their body and not the context that they are living in?
In the final discussion, it became clear that earlier concepts are contested by techno-cultural transformation processes. While on the one hand, for example, in Turkey, the inclusion of veterans with disabilities might have exclusionary effects, addressing veterans in Iran has resulted in rights for people with disabilities being enacted into legislation. This could also be an opportunity for women with disabilities for researching and discussing taboo topics such as love among people with disabilities. For British veterans, a process has been highlighted that moves away from “toxic masculinities” to a subjectification that produces post-stoic masculinities. The role that technologies play in gender construction was demonstrated by the project in Denmark, where masculinities related to health, beauty, and sexuality were established via (socio-technical) assemblages. In the performance lecture, it then became clear once again how technically mediated communication and also media performances can transport experiences of dis/ability and health, enabling collaboration from different socio-cultural spaces.
In the final discussion, the online format of the conference was addressed, too. As scholars whose work scrutinize disabilities, we are well aware of the empowering potentials of online formats for those individuals with limited physical mobility in cities that are most often inaccessible, or their impact in reducing the carbon footprint. Yet, online format cannot be taken for granted as a “remedy” in its current format. Research is needed in order to gain insight into how online formats contribute to or extract from the quality of gatherings to understand the efficiency of knowledge circulation of semi-present bodies in different cultural settings. The “atmosphere” of analogue events is missing in online events, facial expressions and gestures of people are transmitted to a limited extent at best. These are compensated in the design of online formats’ interaction tools, e.g. such as the applaud emoji, which was used during the conference. Shared, situated experiences and knowledge circulation, opportunities for informal exchange among the participants are often lacking, although this is important for sustainable cooperation. At this point, artistic research and practices would bring forth a crucial, critical voice that is needed in academia to tackle its workings which are far from universal law.
Institut Français Istanbul – Taksim İstiklal Caddesi No°4, Şehit Muhtar 34435 İstanbul, Turkey
MODIFIED (HU)MAN: GELENEKLER, KIRILGANLIKLAR VE OLASI GELECEKLER
Bedensel müdahaleler yalnızca sakatlıkların “tamir” edilmesi veya hastalıkların iyileştirilmesi amaçlı değil ayrıca bedensel yetkinlikleri artırmak için kullanılıyor. Dolayısıyla, bu tür bedensel müdahaleleri anlamak adına onları çevreleyen pratikleri ve onlara yüklenen sembolik anlamları öne çıkarmak istiyoruz. Bedenlerin böylesi müdahaleler yoluyla edindiği özgürleştirici olanakları veya ortaya çıkan farklı kırılganlıkları neler? Bu tematik film seçkisi beden modifikasyonu pratiklerine odaklanıyor; bu tür pratiklerin gelenek ve olası gelecekler eksenindeki ilişkisini toplumsal bir inşa olan cinsiyet normlarının çekişmesi üzerinden kurguluyor. Filmler, farklı yer ve zamanlarda tekil bedensel algı veya bedene müdahale hikayelerini doğa, kültür ve beden arasındaki ilişkiyi göstererek aktarıyor. Böylece, bedensel müdahalelerin sosyo-kültürel kodlamaları ve bilim, sanat ve kültürdeki farklılaşan teknoloji algıları arasındaki ilişkiye dair sorular soruyor.
Film gösteriminin odağında İran yapımı uzun metraj film Stepfather’s Legacy yer alıyor. Film, kendini evliliğe hazır hisseden ancak dış görünüşünden memnun olmayan ve bu sebepten dolayı tıbbi süreçlerden geçen bir adamı odağına alıyor. “BIO · FICTION Bilim Sanat Filmleri Festivali”nden dört kısa film, izleyiciyi ileri teknolojilerin toplumsal etkileri üzerine düşünmeye teşvik ediyor. Geleceğe yönelttiğimiz kurgusal bir lens ile soruyoruz: Quo vadis, Modified (Hu)Man?
Adam 0:02, 2018, USA, Emma Allen Sanatçı Emma Allen ve nörobilimci Daisy Thompson-Lake arasındaki bir „Grey Matters“ işbirliği olan Adam, depresyonla ilişkilendirilen nörolojik süreçleri ve duyguları betimleyen bir animasyon.
Aphasia Mechanica 0:03, 2010, USA, Daniel Warner İnsan bedenindeki mekanik parçaların siyah-beyaz izlenimleri.
Stepfather’s Legacy 1:07, 2015, İran, Nima Mahdian Evlenmeyi planlayan bir erkek saç dökülmesi ve kelleşmeden şikayetçidir. Bu durum, ameliyat dahil olmak üzere çeşitli tıbbi süreçlere başvurmasına sebep olur. Her ne kadar tüm çabası evlenebilme ihtimalini arttırmak amaçlı olsa da, en nihayetinde kırılgan erkekliğini gün yüzüne çıkarır.
Carlottas Gesicht 0:05, 2018, Almanya, Valentin Riedl & Frédéric Schuld Henüz çocukken, Carlotta etrafındaki insanların bir yüzü olmasını beklemiyordu. Zira kendi yüzünü dahi tanımıyordu. Yıllar sonra, beyninde oldukça ender görülen ve tedavisi olmayan bir farklılık olduğunu öğrenir. Kendisiyle yüzleşmesini sağlayan en sonunda sanat olur.
The Auxiliary 0:08, 2018, Belçika, Frédéric Plasman Yerle bir olan dünyada kendi yansımasıyla baş başa, çaresiz ve haksız yere itibar kaybı yaşamış biri her şeyin sonunu getirecek. Kim bu kişi ve varoluşu neden?
Cosmetic surgery is booming – and no longer just among women: Both surgical procedures and minimal invasive cosmetic treatments are on the rise among men worldwide. For many men, when early signs of balding appears or when the beard does not grow as desired, this becomes a heavy burden to carry. After all, a youthful, vital, and masculine appearance can be of decisive importance in both professional and private life.
Challenging the prevalent human-centered worldview under a critical post-humanist programmatic, the authors scrutinize ways in which hair constructs gender regimes, especially regimes of masculinities. In this book, hair follicles take center stage as peculiar actors shaping and being shaped by socio-cultural norms and techno-medical processes aiming at hair’s elimination, accelerating its growth and its taming.
In order to stimulate an accessible and dialogue-oriented communication with the wider public, this Science Communication book gathers, documents and presents the visual data that accumulated throughout the 2-year fieldwork, involving photographs of operation theaters, sketches of medical professionals and patients within hair transplantation and laser hair removal processes. From these drawings and photographs emerges the cartography of ‘Hair:y_less Masculinities’, wherein hair resists the techno-medical imaginaries through its Eigensinn, despite the natureculture metaphors that readily construct it as highly malleable and passive.
Şahinol, Taşdizen and Başkavak, 2022
ISBN 978-625-00-9547-8 DOI: 10.25360/01-2022-00000
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.
Subjects: Medicine, Science and Technology Studies. | Sociology – Medical Sociology – Research – Methodology. | Anthropology – Research – Methodology. | Gender Studies – Men and Masculinities. |
Cover image by Merve Şahinol. The artwork cannot be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented,including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the artist.
This work was supported by the large-scale “Knowledge Unbound: Internationalisation, Networking, Innovation in and by the Max Weber Stiftung” research project, funded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Modified (Hu)Man: Traditions, Vulnerabilities and Possible Futures
(introduction by Dr. Melike Şahinol)
Body modifications are used not only to “repair” injuries or enable recovery after illness but also to enhance human performance. Consequently, we would like to highlight the practices and symbolic effects of such interventions. What are their empowering potentials, but also what are the emergent vulnerabilities of bodies in general? The films of this thematic block focus on the traditions, vulnerabilities, and possible futures of diverse body modifications in relation to gender as a social construct. They illustrate individual journeys of different bodily perceptions and interventions through time and space by showing the relationship between nature, culture, and the body with science-art as well as cultural and fictional contributions. In doing so, they raise questions about the relationships between socio-cultural coding of body modifications and notions of technology in science, art, and culture. In the center of the film screening stands the Iranian feature film Stepfather’s Legacy that revolves around a man who is ready to get married and undertakes techno-medical modification efforts as an investment in his corporeal capital. A series of four short films from the “BIO·FICTION Science Art Film Festival” encourages the audience to reflect on the social implications of emergent technologies. By taking a fictional look ahead, we raise the question: Quo vadis, Modified (Hu)Man?
7:15 p.m. [CET]
Films (in screening order)
Adam 0:02, 2018, USA, Emma Allen, oD
A “Grey Matters” collaboration between artist Emma Allen and neuroscientist Daisy Thompson-Lake, Adam is an animated portrait illustrating some of the underlying neurological processes and emotions associated with depression.
Aphasia Mechanica 0:03, 2010, USA, Daniel Warner, oD
Black and white impressions of mechanical parts in the human body.
Stepfather’s Legacy 1:07, 2015, Iran, Nima Mahdian, OmdU
A man who is planning to marry suffers from hair loss and baldness, leading him to experiment with various forms of medical treatment and even surgery. Although his efforts are an investment to boost his position on the marriage market, they ultimately expose the vulnerabilities of his masculinity.
As a child, Carlotta didn’t expect the people around her to have faces. She didn’t even recognize her own face. Years later, she learns about a rare, untreatable deficit of her brain. It was art, after all, that offered her a way to finally recognize herself.
The Auxiliary 0:08, 2018, Belgium, Frédéric Plasman, OmdU
Alone in front of her reflection in a collapsing world, someone desperate, feeling unfairly discredited, is going to end it all. But who is she and why?
9:00 p.m. [CET]
Round Table [EN]
Moderation: Melike Şahinol
Panel discussion with Başak Ağın, Sümeyra Buran, Claudia Liebelt, Nacim Pak-Shiraz and Christopher Coenen.
Short biographies of the panel discussants
Başak Ağın, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English Literature and a faculty member at TED University, Ankara, Turkey. She has authored a Turkish monograph Posthümanizm: Kavram, Kuram, Bilim-Kurgu (Posthumanism: Concept, Theory, Science-Fiction, 2020) and edited Ekofobi Hipotezi (2021)—M. Sibel Dinçel’s Turkish translation of Simon C. Estok’s The Ecophobia Hypothesis (2018). Currently, she is editing a Turkish handbook of environmental, medical, digital, and posthumanities, co-editing Ecofeminism and World Literature: African, Middle Eastern, and Asian Perspectives with Douglas Vakoch and Posthuman Pathogenesis: Contagion in Literature, Media, and Arts with Şafak Horzum.
Sümeyra Buran is a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of California Riverside (from Istanbul Medeniyet University) since she was awarded a research grant by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) in 2018. She is the founding and coordinating editor of Journal of Posthumanism, the editor of Posthumanism Series by Transnational Press London, a committee member of BIPOC at the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA), and a country representative (Turkey) at the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA). She is the editor of a collection Edebiyatta Posthümanizm (2020) by TpLondon, co-editor with Sherryl Vint of a collection book Technologies of Feminist Speculative Fiction: Gender, Artificial Life, Reproduction (2021) by Palgrave, co-editor with Jim Clarke of a collection Religious Futurisms (2022) and the author of a monograph Su-fi: Sufi Science Fiction to be published by Routledge (2022).
Christopher Coenen is senior researcher at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology’s Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (KIT-ITAS). At ITAS since 2003. Before moving to Karlsruhe in 2009, based in Berlin at the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Parliament (TAB), which is run by KIT-ITAS. As team member or project leader, he has conducted more than 15 projects on behalf of such institutions as the German Parliament, the European Parliament and the European Commission. Currently, he is, amongst other things, in charge of the coordination of the EU-funded project SYNENERGENE on synthetic biology, a large-scale stakeholder and public dialogue and agenda-setting action plan with more than 20 partners from three continents, and the Editor in Chief of the journal NanoEthics (Springer). Among his main fields of interest are a wide variety of societal, political, philosophical, and cultural aspects of synthetic biology, nanotechnologies and neurotechnologies, and the ‘human enhancement’ topic.
Claudia Liebelt is Professor in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Free University of Berlin. Her research foci are in the Anthropology of the Body and the Senses, Gender, Religion and Sexualities. She has authored Caring for the ‘Holy Land’: Filipina domestic workers in Israel (Berghahn, 2011) and has edited a volume on Beauty and the norm: debating standardization in bodily appearance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Her second monograph on Istanbul Appearances: Beauty and the Making of Middle-Class Femininities is currently under review.
Nacim Pak-Shiraz is Personal Chair of Cinema and Iran at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on cinema and visual culture in the Middle East, particularly Iran. Professor Pak-Shiraz has also curated a number of film festivals in Edinburgh, and has been as a jury member and speaker at several international film festivals in the Czech Republic, Turkey and Iran.
Dr. Melike Şahinol and Burak Taşdizen presented the selected findings of the ongoing research project “Hair:y_less Masculinities: A Cartography” at the “Connecting Themes Conference: Contested Knowledge in a Connected World” organized by Max Weber Foundation in Berlin, Germany on September 16-17, 2021.
Their paper titled “Entangled Empowerment: Connecting Shared Hair Transplantation Practices for Men in Turkey and Iran” was part of the thematic discussion “Reshaping Gender Norms: The Intersections and Transformations of Gendered Empowerment” chaired by Prof. Christina von Hodenberg of German Historical Institute London. We share below the paper abstract.
Irrespective of gender, techno-medical possibilities are causing profound transformations in the human body, promising empowerment. As a result, there is a growing cultural enthusiasm for cosmetic surgery, revealing itself in the promotion of a range of cosmetic treatment options tailored towards men and women alike in billboards placed around metropolitan areas of Turkey and Iran, the two of the most popular global destinations for health and beauty. These two countries, compared to the world, stand out with the number of hair transplantations carried out for men regarding their facial and chest hair. Connecting these two countries through their shared hair transplantation practices for men, we aim to discuss unifying but contested elements of masculinities construction that are intertwined with empowerment.
We discuss three dimensions, enabling and contesting the emergent empowerment through hair transplantation practices. First dimension regards purity and cleanliness, which could often be traced to religious meanings and affects. Secondly, empowerment is framed by socio-political currents as in different moustache and beard styles often associated with specific socio-political attitudes. Last dimension points to the emergent beauty norms often related to emergent masculinities. Our qualitative research discloses individual yet connected empowering practices and techniques around hair transplantation entangled with the three above-mentioned dimensions reshaping masculinities.
Şahinol & Taşdizen, 2021
You could read more about the conference here, and find the conference program here.
Dr. Melike Şahinol and Burak Taşdizen have presented the selected findings of the ongoing research project “Hair:y_less Masculinities: A Cartography” at “I U A E S: The Re-invention of Traditions in the Middle East” conference at the panel “Is There a Middle Eastern Body?” chaired by Prof. Dr. Claudia Liebelt and Dr. Melike Şahinol. The presentation titled “Colonizing Men’s Bodies: Natureculture Metaphors Around Hair Transplantation” discussed the narratives of medical practitioners and patients which utilize natureculture metaphors to explain the hair transplantation process, both during and after.
The conference was hosted by Orient-Institut Istanbul via Zoom on August 7-9, 2021.
Our research was affected by the pandemic. Hence, our methodological shift towards an online survey. We invite you to participate in the survey, which you can access from the link below.
Our survey takes about 20 minutes. We would appreciate, if you could allocate your time. Your answers will be anonymized. Language options in English, Turkish and Persian are available on the top right.
We are happy to announce that our article “Medicalised Masculinities in Turkey and Iran: The Eigensinn of Hair in Hair Transplantation” is now published on the new special issue “Medicalised Masculinities – Somatechnical Interventions” of Somatechnics Journal by Edinburgh University Press. We thank the Editors-in-Chief Holly Randell-Moon and Iris van der Tuin, the Guest Editors Karen Hvidtfeldt, Michael Nebeling Petersen, Kristian Møller, Camilla Bruun Eriksen and anonymous peer-reviewers whose careful, constructive critiques helped refine the article. You can access the article here, and Guest Editors’ introduction along with other special issue articles here.
Growing cultural enthusiasm for cosmetic surgery and the techno-medical modification of the body have had a considerable impact on men in recent years making it the driving force behind the medicalisation of masculinities (Syzmczak and Conrad 2006). Among the top five cosmetic procedures most frequently chosen by men are laser hair removal in the category of cosmetic minimally invasive procedures and hair transplantation in the category of cosmetic surgical procedures (American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2019). Turkey is the world’s leading destination for medical services and a leading country of medical tourism. Its beauty tourism is particularly noteworthy making the country attractive for ‘demand-oriented’ and ‘wish-fulfilling’ cosmetic procedures for the West, the Middle East as well as locals. With a special emphasis on the somatechnics of shaping men’s hair, this article analyses the currents of hair transplantation practices and after-care in shaping masculinities in Turkey and its regional competitor Iran. By building on the existing literature, we extend the discussion on male haircare with hair as the bios as part of emerging socio-bio-technical entities.
Knowledge Exchange from Denmark to Turkey October 20, 2020, 9AM – 11:20 AM, CEST Orient-Institut Istanbul
The workshop is being organized by the Orient-Institut Istanbul as part of the project titled “A Cartography of Hair:y_less Masculinities. A Comparison between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Turkey” and University of Southern Denmark as part of the project “Medicine Man: Media Assemblages of Medicalized Masculinity”.
The workshop will bring together different researchers from Denmark and Turkey with the aim to explore possibilities and limits of cooperation around medicalized masculinities with its cultural, social and religious interconnections, to exchange knowledge and expertise by collecting theoretical and methodological inputs from different perspectives, and to enhance interdisciplinary collaboration.
Workshop Participants Melike Şahinol (Orient-Institut Istanbul) Karen Hvidtfeldt (University of Southern Denmark) Michael Nebeling Petersen (University of Southern Denmark) Kristian Møller (University of Southern Denmark) Mie Birk Jensen (University of Southern Denmark) Signe Rom Rasmussen (University of Southern Denmark) Burak Taşdizen (Orient-Institut Istanbul)
As we mentioned earlier, we will present our preliminary research results at the upcoming 4S/EASST 2020 conference. Our paper is titled “Everyday Cyborgs: Men with Implanted/Transplanted Hair (and its Eigensinn).” To read our abstract and go through the abstracts of other presentations in the session, visit here. See below for time/date details.
Tue, August 18, 10:00 to 11:40am CEST (11:00am to 12:40pm IST), virPrague, VR 04.
To see the entire conference programme, please visit here.
In recent years techno-medical reconfigurations of men’s bodies, an example to which are interventions in balding due to aging (Syzmczak and Conrad 2006), has medicalized men’s bodies and thus masculinities A reason for this is that cosmetic surgery has become not only more accessible (Edmonds 2009) but also more popular among men with hair transplantations/implantations being one of the most chosen cosmetic surgical procedures by men (American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2019).
Extending the focus on ‘body companion technology’ from the concrete technologies implanted into/on the body/ies, towards including emerging biotechnical entities, such as (synthetic) hair and its implantation/transplantation processes, this research focuses on men’s bodies and their materialization as ‘everyday cyborgs’ through hair implantation/transplantation procedures. Concentrating on men undergoing such procedures in clinics in Turkey and Iran, we argue that these procedures could be regarded as empowerment of vulnerable subjects for they enable self-actualization. As these procedures are embedded in a web of biopolitical currents (i.e. economy, professional settings, etc.), consolidation of gender differences through the reproduction of a particular type of masculinity could be underway.
Considering the self-will (Eigensinn) of the bios, and thus hair, our complementary to the body companion technology concept helps to see hair as biotechnical entity, with the agency to reject its new territory, requiring ongoing care on part of the patient’s body. Thus, this research conceptualizes the techno-medical (re)locations of hair in men’s bodies within a “socio-bio-technical framework” (Şahinol 2016) and scrutinizes how and the ways in which these ‘everyday cyborg’ bodies deal with emergent vulnerabilities.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2019. 2018 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report.
Edmonds, Alexander. 2009. “Learning to love yourself: esthetics, health, and therapeutics in Brazilian plastic surgery.” Ethnos 74 (4):465-489.
Şahinol, Melike. 2016. Das techno-zerebrale Subjekt: Zur Symbiose von Mensch und Maschine in den Neurowissenschaften, Technik – Körper – Gesellschaft. Bielefeld: transcript.
Syzmczak, Julia E., and Peter Conrad. 2006. “Medicalizing the Aging Male Body: Andropause and Baldness.” In Medicalized Masculinities, edited by Dana Rosenfeld and Christopher A. Faircloth. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
“Cartography of Hair:y_less Masculinities” was presented by Dr. Melike Şahinol and Burak Taşdizen at the Research Colloquium held by Orient-Institut Istanbul on April 1, 2020, followed by a Q&A session with a participating audience from Germany, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The colloquium was moderated by Dr. Katja Rieck.
The colloquium took off with a welcome speech delivered by Prof. Dr. Raoul Motika and followed by the presentation and a discussion.
Dr. Melike Şahinol discussed the theoretical framework for the study, which brings together biomedicalization, post-human feminism, and masculinity studies. Later, Burak Taşdizen disseminated the preliminary research results from the fieldwork that has been continuing since February, 2020. The preliminary research results indicate that there are cultural differences of hair practices in Turkey and Iran and thus different masculinities taking shape through hair:y_less. Not only socio-cultural or socio-political factors were discussed, but also historical and geographical connotations for the shaping of post-human masculinities.
The colloquium took place online, via Zoom, due to physical distancing required by COVID-19 outbreak.