“Entangled Empowerment: Connecting Shared Hair Transplantation Practices for Men in Turkey and Iran” presented at the “Connecting Themes Conference: Contested Knowledge in a Connected World” in Berlin

Burak Taşdizen presents the selected findings of “Hair:y_less Masculinities: A Cartography”. Photograph: Kamyar Nematollahy.

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.

“Colonizing Men’s Bodies: Natureculture Metaphors Around Hair Transplantation” presented at the panel “Is There a Middle Eastern Body?”

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.

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.