Workshop: Medicalized Masculinities

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)  

Please see the program below.

4S/EASST 2020 Conference Programme is out!

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.

“Everyday Cyborgs: Men with implanted / transplanted hair (and its Eigensinn)” accepted for panel #174 EASST/4S Prague 2020 Virtual Meeting

We are very happy that we will be able to present our abstract on Everyday Cyborgs: Men with implanted/transplanted hair (and its Eigensinn) (see below) in the panel #174 Techniques of Resilience. Coping with the Vulnerabilities of Hybrid Bodies by Nelly Oudshoorn during the virtual meeting of EASST/4S Prague 2020 “Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and Agency of STS in Emerging Worlds” to be held between August 18 and August 21. We will be discussing our project A Cartography of Hair:y_less Masculinities. A Comparison between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Turkey to a certain extent with approaches to understand the techniques of resilience as an important component of conceptualizing  vulnerabilities and part of the cyborg theory.

Everyday Cyborgs: Men with implanted/transplanted hair (and its Eigensinn)

Melike Şahinol (Orient-Institut Istanbul), Burak Taşdizen (Orient-Institut Istanbul)

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.

References

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 NeurowissenschaftenTechnik – 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.

Research Colloquium at Orient-Institut Istanbul

“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.

Call for Interview Participants

As part of our sociological research project on hair and masculinities, we are looking for men from Turkey or Iran to talk to about their experiences in

  • hair / beard / moustache transplants
  • bodily hair removals

The interview lasts around 45 minutes, and your answers will be anonymized. It will take place in an online setting of your choice including but not limited to Skype and / or WhatsApp.

If you are willing to participate in our study, please contact our project coordinator Burak Taşdizen at tasdizen@oiist.org.

See the flyer below.

“The Medicalization of Bodies Is a Gendered Practice” Interview with Burak Taşdizen

Burak Taşdizen talked to Max Weber Stiftung on his previous and current research projects, and his research practice in general, including the research project “Cartography of Hair:y_less Masculinities”.

In our research on the re-mapping of hair in men’s bodies by (non)medical practices, it was surprising to see how medicalization of bodies is a gendered practice, yet the literature was mostly focusing on medicalization of women’s bodies such as the post-natal or menopausal female body. Although there are historical accounts on men and their hair practices, medicalization of these practices via current technologies remains relatively unexplored in the social sciences. In the past years, more and more men have started to consult medical expertise to (re)shape their bodies, examples of which are hair/beard/moustache transplants. These procedures, for which Istanbul has become a global hub attracting patients from not only Europe and the Middle East but also from overseas countries such as Brazil, help men regain a more accepted look in society so long as they subscribe to societal norms. Such interventions on men’s bodies become especially interesting when considering the plurality of masculinities, in which only some of them are desired and others are not, and how technologies take active part in the negotiation and (re)shaping of bodies and thus gender.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Workshop: “Technology and the Body: Care, Empowerment, and the Fluidity of Bodies”

As part of the project, we had an internal workshop titled “Technology and the Body: Care, Empowerment, and the Fluidity of Bodies” on 21 January, 2020 at Orient-Institut Istanbul. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach, the workshop brought together two research fields of Orient-Institute Istanbul, namely, “Human, Medicine and Society”, and “Study of Religions”, each with a distinctive approach to the study of body.

Find the workshop program here.